David Holthaus reports:
The worldwide United Way organization has recognized Procter & Gamble with its most prestigious corporate prize, the Spirit of America award, for the company’s contributions not only in Greater Cincinnati and the United States, but around the world.
At its Worldwide Community Leaders Conference in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday night, the global United Way recognized the philanthropic contributions of P&G and its people, their volunteer efforts and their impact on communities.
“P&G and its employees have demonstrated incredible leadership, innovation and volunteer commitment which are improving children’s lives and making a lasting impact in communities here in the U.S. and around the world,” said Brian Gallagher, CEO of United Way Worldwide.
P&G and its employees are the biggest contributors to the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, and they have been instrumental in United Way programs in other countries. They’ve helped create early childhood education programs, called “Born Learning,” in several Latin American countries, including Panama, Peru, Mexico, Colombia and Brazil.
P&G also uses its marketing expertise through its BrandSaver program to make donations, based on product purchases, to clean drinking water programs and other health care programs in other countries.
Globally, P&G contributes more than $100 million annually in charitable cash, product and employee donations, the United Way says. Company employees volunteered more than 52,500 hours in 2011, and senior leaders served on more than 200 local, national and global boards.
“Nearly 100 years ago, a Procter and a Gamble were among the first leaders of what is now United Way of Greater Cincinnati,” said Robert C. Reifsnyder, president of United Way of Greater Cincinnati. “Since those beginnings, Procter & Gamble has been a bedrock of philanthropic support for both our United Way and the Greater Cincinnati community.”
P&G was instrumental in starting United Way programs in Latin America and employee participation is high, said Jorge Uribe, P&G’s global president for Latin America. Sixty-five percent of P&G employees in Latin America, including its manufacturing workers, have authorized payroll withdrawal for United Way, he said.
“Our own people have become part of the solution,” he said.
P&G’s philanthropy is closely tied to its business purpose, said Chris Hassall, global external relations officer.
“It helps all of us if we have a vibrant, strong community,” he said. “It’s fundamental to how we operate in other parts of the world.”
United Way also handed out Summit Awards to six corporations for their contributions. Four of them have a presence in Greater Cincinnati:
• Deloitte, which raised $21 million globally and is No. 21 on United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s Top 25 list, raising $416,500 last year;
• Illinois Tool Works raised $11.4 million total for United Way, and more than $191,000 locally.
• Microsoft and its employees donated $100.5 million to nonprofits and educational institutions in 2011, with United Way the single largest recipient. Combined corporate and employee giving to United Way of Greater Cincinnati totaled $6,920 in 2011.
• Wells Fargo raised $56 million nationally and $69,908 locally. That doubled its 2010 results in Cincinnati.