Building Firm Looks for Aligned Interest when Linking with Nonprofits
Kimberly Steimle Vaughan: Nonprofits can bring a lot of value
There are a thousand ways in which a corporation can add value to a nonprofit, but sometimes a mistake a nonprofit makes is to assume there isnt much value they can bring to us, said Kimberly Steimle Vaughan. We believe they can bring a lot, but they start by articulating the value they can add to the company.
Ultimately, long-term relationships between nonprofits and corporations result from an alignment of missions, she said.
In the case of Suffolk, nonprofits seeking to team with the company need to know that its philanthropy and nonprofit involvement focus on youth and education, and to a lesser extent on healthcare.
The companys Red & Blue Foundation each year donates $5 million to $7 million to support education, healthcare, life sciences, and community life.
Perhaps most notably, Suffolk has created a nonprofit, originally called The Boston Scholar Athlete Program, but since renamed to Scholar Athletes as it expands beyond Boston. (This year it established a program in Springfield.) The goal is improve academic achievement through athletics. Today, with a staff of 30 working with dozens of high schools, the nonprofit has an annual operating budget of $2.5 million and, in addition to Suffolk, is supported by major partners and donors.
Suffolk has also developed key relationships that build on its core construction expertise. For example:
Since community involvement is a core value of Suffolk, it looks more favorably on opportunities for nonprofit engagement that provide an opportunity for its employees to participate. Currently, its 1,200 employees (about half of whom are located in Massachusetts) donate more than 10,000 hours a year, on company time as well as their own, to a number of nonprofits.
Noting that we expect our internal leaders to become engaged in civic community, Vaughan said Suffolks involvement with BGCB led to her joining the Clubs marketing committee of Club and eventually becoming a board member.
Suffolk also looks for its nonprofit partners to actively engage with other nonprofits.
With so many nonprofits, there is much [mission] crossover, Vaughan said. Whats important to us is nonprofits trying to help each other.