Why you should care

Because you can gain so much by giving back.

OZY and JPMorgan Chase have partnered to take a deeper look at how businesses can impact society for the better. Enjoy the rest of our special series here.

Giving can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people — you can give your time, your money, a gift or a hug, or even give someone a good idea or sound advice. There are countless ways to give, but what remains true across all forms of giving is the immense value people who give can bring to our world.

Here, we will learn from four leading women who are quite familiar with the power of giving and know the importance of giving back — be it through their jobs, expertise or personal passions.

Connecting Women Around the World

While traveling abroad in Kenya, Molly Hayward met a girl who missed several days of school each month because she couldn’t afford to buy sanitary pads. Hayward quickly realized that there were millions of girls around the world, including the U.S., who were unable to cover the cost of a basic female necessity: sanitary products. “I just had one of those lightbulb moments,” she recalls.

In response, Hayward launched Cora, a global provider of organic, ethically sourced menstrual products. Cora’s mission is two-fold: to create a line of products that are environmentally-friendly and safe, and to make these products accessible to people across the globe. With a commitment to global impact, Cora puts giving in the hands of consumers, creating a ripple effect of empowerment. Each time someone purchases a month’s supply of Cora products, they’re also providing a month’s supply of sanitary pads to someone in need.

Hayward explains why it made sense to set up a reciprocal model as the basis for Cora’s giving. It’s more than simply funding health education or raising awareness about menstrual inequality, Hayward says, “We’re giving women an opportunity to connect with other women around this very personal experience.”

Serving Local Communities

Just because a large corporation operates on a global scale doesn’t mean it can’t make a lasting impact on a local level. JPMorgan Chase, for one, is positioned to make a local impact both financially and through its employee volunteerism efforts. In fact, the company recently announced a $20 billion, five-year investment to help support job and local economic growth across the U.S. And it’s this type of generous support that reinforces the work of Katherine Lipton and Erin Mautner — the respective chair and co-chair of JPMorgan Chase’s Global Legal Pro Bono Program — and makes their roles so meaningful.

Lipton and Mautner are responsible for driving initiatives that provide legal employees with opportunities to give back to local communities, in addition to their legal support roles for the company’s Commercial Bank. For instance, they help spearhead JPMorgan Chase’s annual Legal Pro Bono Day of Service, where employees partner with nonprofits to provide legal consulting in local communities. In many cases, the relationships formed with local nonprofits has led to additional support throughout the year, free of charge. The Global Legal Pro Bono Program also operates a fellowship program that enables one legal employee each year to take six months to work with a nonprofit of their choice.

The program’s committee constantly reassesses community needs and responds accordingly. Just this past summer, the committee’s executive sponsor put out a call to see who in the legal department would be interested in providing support for families in crisis in Texas. “Within four hours,” Mautner says, “we had 170 volunteers.” It’s experiences like these that are shaping the future of skills-based giving at JPMorgan Chase.

“And this kind of work,” Lipton says, “brings a tremendous amount of satisfaction. It has really taught us how important it is to deliver multiple opportunities for people to give back to local communities.”

A Path Toward Social Responsibility

While some companies have well-established corporate responsibility programs, others may need a bit of help. That’s where Tyler Butler comes in. She’s a social responsibility consultant and founder of 11eleven, a strategy and consulting firm that helps companies design and implement ethical practices and programs.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all to corporate social responsibility,” Butler explains. “For some [organizations] I’m helping build volunteer efforts. For others I’m helping launch marketing campaigns. And then sometimes, I’m in there doing the full-circle view, from strategy to execution.”

No matter the scope of the job at hand, Butler always starts with an assessment. “I talk to individuals in all parts of the business, from the C-suite executives, to individuals who are taking care of facilities or answering phones in a call center.” Her goal is to get a pulse on the entire company to help determine its strengths — and then apply those strengths toward positive societal and economic change. “I take all of this and put it into a capsule review of what I think the company has capacity to do,” Butler says. “Many times, I’m stretching them. I want organizations to do the most good possible.”

Be it through the products you purchase, the time you volunteer or even the day-to-day work you do at your job, every individual has a unique gift to give. And the power of giving works both ways: the recipients benefit, as do those giving back. And that’s good news for everyone.

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