Ups and downs

Ups to the 2001 Pillar Award for Community Service honorees. These 11 companies exemplify the art of philanthropy and understand its importance in today’s tight economy. We hope their largesse will serve as examples to SBN readers, who will forgo the recent national trend of cutting back on corporate giving.

Downs to credit card companies. After nine Fed rate cuts, interest rates stand at 2 percent — the lowest in years. Yet few credit card companies are passing along the savings to those who need it most — consumers. There’s nothing wrong with making a profit, but as Enron recently learned, what goes around comes around.

Ups to McDonald Investments and Brown, Gibbons, Lang & Co. While other local firms bemoan a lack of deals, McDonald and BGL just keep plugging away. McDonald recently ranked fourth nationwide by the number of deals valued at $100 million or less; BGL has closed several high-profile acquisition deals. The two prove that business continues no matter the economic conditions.

Downs to the manufacturing sector. Everyone is banking on a recovery sometime soon, but recent economic data indicate it may not be until late in the second quarter of 2002 before manufacturers begin to see any turnaround. If that’s the case, in a region heavy in manufacturing, the local economy may not brighten until the middle of next year.

Ups to Case Western Reserve University, which will receive $1 million spread over four years from the SBC Foundation. The money will be used by Case’s Center for Regional Economic Issues to study the region’s economic future. We hope the findings will reveal a future stronger than today.