The power of philanthropy

Four years ago, SBN Magazine and Medical Mutual of Ohio co-founded the Pillar Award for Community Service on one simple idea: Companies that give back to the communities that support them should be recognized.

We planned to do it by leveraging our resources to underscore the importance of philanthropy and volunteerism in and around Northeast Ohio and ensure that no one in business forgets the impact that even one small donation can make.

Our efforts seem to be working. Since 1998, more than 40 area businesses have been honored, including 11 this year. The program, which has received local acclaim and continues to gain momentum, has a four-pronged mission.

1. To publicize the issue of community service as it applies to the realities of today’s competitive business world. If you read SBN every month, you’ll see that we take philanthropy seriously. Beyond traditional feature stories and how-to pieces, SBN has continually dedicated pages to showcase best practices in philanthropy and will continue to do so.

2. To share creative ideas about how companies of all sizes are having a positive impact in their communities. This year’s honorees — as well as their predecessors — have developed and implemented smart ideas for community giving. As you read their stories, you’ll find that each gives back in its own unique way.

3. To honor companies that go well beyond the minimum expectation of community service. On Dec. 6, 2001, SBN and Medical Mutual will hold the annual Pillar Award for Community Service banquet, at which we’ll showcase the best of this year’s more than 40 entrants and also raise money for charity.

4. To create a sustaining fund to be administered by the Cleveland Foundation to aid local nonprofit organizations in their mission to serve the people of Northeast Ohio. Including this year’s donation, the Pillar Fund contains more than $40,000. We recently converted it to a donor-directed fund, which means that beginning in early 2002, we’ll begin dispersing money to local organizations in need.

SBN and Medical Mutual are dedicated to the ideals of the program we’ve developed. We congratulate this year’s Pillar Award for Community Service honorees and take great honor in presenting their stories. We hope you’ll congratulate them, too. Dustin Klein ([email protected]) is editor of SBN Magazine.