Company Makes a Bigger Business and Community Impact by Expanding its Corporate Social Responsibility Engagement


Engaging in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and corporate giving is a critical part of the business success for the Matworks, a 55-year-old organization that provides technology driven janitorial and facilities services. Robert “Rip” Collins, CEO & President, of the Matworks says that a core part of its business model is to strive to “do good” by providing opportunity for young people in need with education and business experience.

Collins has continued to look for additional ways to expand their existing impact. He learned that many of the Philadelphia region’s most innovative leaders have recognized the opportunity to combine their CSR efforts with a four-year partnership with a nonprofit of their choice. The Matworks was inspired to make a long-term commitment thanks to the work of the Satell Institute, a Think and Do Tank dedicated to CSR.

Collins notes that the Institute is a great personal motivational tool, “I go to these meetings, and I’m pumped. It motivates me to do the extra work and to think about how I can add value to programs.” He continues, “It is nice to get reminders from other CEOs who spend a lot of time and money [on CSR] and learn what they’re doing, how much thought they’re putting into it. It almost makes me want to get the company bigger just so I can do more.”

The Matworks chose to commit to supporting Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School, and, it was John McConnell, President and Founder of Cristo Rey, who introduced Collins to the Satell Institute. Collins says that joining the Satell Institute was about growing their impact. “I thought I could turbo-charge some of the Matworks’ ideas and make them more effective solutions with this very successful group of like-minded people,” says Collins. He describes the Institute as a great networking group of Philadelphia-centric CEOs that care about the growth and improvement of the community. He calls the Satell Institute Corporate and Foundation Members “the pros of philanthropy.”

The Discovery of the Importance of Giving Back

Both Collins and the Matworks founder and chairman Robert Burman believe in giving back as an important part of doing business in a community. Collins’ personal focus on giving back has always centered around education, youth and providing opportunity for young people. He realized that combining those values with the aligned values of the Matworks would create an even larger impact. Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School was a natural partner for the Matworks’ CSR efforts – its unique education model includes a rigorous curriculum and work-study program.

Cristo Rey is a college preparatory Catholic high school for students of all faiths committed to serving students from underrepresented communities across the greater Philadelphia area. The school’s collective goal for every student is not simply high school graduation or college acceptance, but college graduation. According to Collins, the school has a 100% college acceptance rate and on average each student receives seven acceptances and $20,000 per year in scholarships.

All students enrolled in the school participate in a unique corporate work-study program through which they develop important skills and life experience that they may never have received otherwise – changing the trajectory of their future. “The students work one day a week. They are introduced to the business community and gain invaluable work experience and skillsets that prepare them for college, the modern workplace and beyond,” says Collins. They meet mentors and gain insights on what it takes to have a career. Additionally, and arguably most importantly, they see people like themselves in a variety of jobs which helps them realize their full potential.

A New Program for Magnified Impact

The Matworks recently created the Future Leaders Program which incorporates a portion of its CSR efforts into each major janitorial and facilities service contract. The Matworks currently sponsors students in Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Washington, DC.

With each major contract, the Matworks pays $34,000 to fund the work-study costs for a team of four Cristo Rey students, covering the tuition at the Cristo Rey school. As part of the school’s work-study program, each sponsored student works at the customer’s office or other location, one day per week. The customers get energetic, motivated interns while the students receive a top-quality college prep high school education and professional work experience.

The impact of the Future Leaders Program is far-reaching. By bringing a Cristo Rey student to the customer through the work-study program, the Future Leaders Program is not only providing scholarships and invaluable education to students in need, but also amplifying the reach of the Matworks’ CSR efforts. The Future Leaders Program is impacting its customers by creating benefits for multiple functions, including bringing on extra help at no cost and creating a pipeline of future workers; bolstering employees’ job satisfaction and loyalty to the organization; boosting customer acquisition and increasing customer retention; and more.

Additionally, the community benefits through the customers, their employees, and students (even the students’ family and friends) being inspired to give back in their own ways, igniting a bigger push to do good and improve the community.

Collins says, “When we started to put the Future Leaders Program together, I talked about it with my customers. And people liked it. The students did great things for them – they add value both in the work they do and the experience they give their employees.” He continues, “It’s good for my business to give these scholarships, it’s good for the receiving company to get them and its good for the student.”

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The Satell Institute’s Nonprofit Partners Include:

• Franklin Institute
• Mann Center for the Performing Arts
• Learn Fresh / Philadelphia 76ers
• Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania
• Museum of the American Revolution
• National Liberty Museum
• Coded by Kids
• Boy Scouts of America Cradle of Liberty Council

• University of Pennsylvania
• Neumann University
• Caron Foundation
• Junior Achievement of Southeastern PA
• Special Olympics Pennsylvania
• Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
• World Affairs Council of Philadelphia
• and many more coming soon!

The Satell Institute is a Think and Do Tank Dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility™, supporting the community, its businesses, nonprofits, foundations, and the people that live or work throughout the Greater Philadelphia region. Learn more about the Satell Institute’s impact at

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