Any executive can tell you – involvement in the upper levels of corporate hierarchy is no easy task. On one hand, there’s a huge responsibility to align strategic vision with company objectives. On the other, there’s managing the thousands of employees who carry out the essential operations and initiatives.
With so many responsibilities to shoulder, many executives find themselves with little time to juggle anything outside of the office. That is why many beltway executives have found a way to combine their corporate duties with their passion to give back and lend a helping hand– by incorporating community outreach programs into the very structures of their companies.
Take Bill Hoover, for example. This president and CEO of AMERICAN SYSTEMS is responsible for the oversight of all of the operations and the company’s approximately 1,500 employees in 16 office locations. The veteran officer of the U.S. Navy has a packed agenda, but an even stronger passion for carrying out his social responsibility. That is why he incorporated his two passions into a corporate outreach program to help wounded soldiers in need through leading company involvement in programs like the Wounded Warrior Project and the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.
“Our warfighters at home and abroad are the finest in the world, and I’m proud that AMERICAN SYSTEMS has the opportunity to support their requirements, from training to real-time battlefield communications,” Hoover said. “The very least we can do as a company and as individuals is give back to those who sacrifice so much for us.”
Greg Baroni, founder, chairman and CEO of Attain, LLC, shares a similar view on philanthropy. For him, his ability to be involved in charity work is a privilege.
“The way I see it, I believe we’re in a very privileged position, so getting involved in these organizations is a way to give back to people who need help,” he said. “It’s really that simple.”
Baroni and the company support foundations like the National Kidney Foundation, American Red Cross of the National Capital Region, The Women’s Center and Build a Bike.
John Watters, CEO of iSIGHT, said charity work is a split between donating money and time.
“Too often of times, there are very well-intended, very well-resourced people that donate money to charities that the results are not what they could be if they had donated their time,” he said. “If the people that are donating their time and money are also having the experience that entrepreneurs tend to have, you can really create a leveraged effect.”
And what did this CEO put his time toward? The education of Dallas’ inner-city elementary students.
“On average, we get about $300,000 a year of scholarship money that other people provide,” Watters said. “Those same kids that are getting scholarships in high school are getting $1.2 million cumulatively in college.”
When it comes to philanthropy at Alion Science and Technology, Chairman and CEO Dr. Bahman Atefi involved his team in a program called “Our Military Kids,” an organization that funds extracurricular activities for the children of deployed National Guard and Reserve members. He saw it as the perfect opportunity to give back.
“This was a perfect fit for us,” Atefi explained. “Our Military Kids helps families on a basic level, providing a needed sense of normalcy while one or both parents are serving our country.”
Under his leadership, the company has collected money and will provide opportunities for these children to participate in extracurricular activities, like piano lessons or art classes, which they may not have otherwise been able to afford.
It is not the only charity Atefi has had the company participate in, however. The company has a number of community-focused grants, like the annual Science Grants, to provide a strong science education in local schools. He said these programs are vital to nurturing the mental capabilities of children.
“These grants support a better environment for learning, and the next generation will help drive innovations that just may solve problems on a global scale,” Atefi said.
Stan Sloane has also found a way to inject a sense of giving into the corporate dynamics as CEO of SRA International. With 50 global locations and 7,000 employees, SRA’s assistance in local communities is significant. Just take a look at the company’s most recent philanthropic event: In a silent auction and employee talent show, more than $21,500 was raised for programs like America’s Adopt a Soldier, the Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health and the D.C. Central Kitchen.
“SRA employees continue to demonstrate their passion for making a difference in our communities,” Sloane said. “Whether they donated items for the silent auction, took the stage to showcase their talent, or raised money through ticket sales and program advertising, this was a fun event that offered our employees to get out and support these three very worthy organizations.”
For Sloane, every day is an occasion for giving, no matter how many tasks are listed on his schedule.
“We are passionate about the significant work we do every day,” he said. “It’s that same passion that drives our need to be active not just in our local communities, but in the global community, as well.”
DLT Solutions’ President and CEO Rick Marcotte is yet another example of a benevolent beltway executive. Under his leadership, DLT has quickly become an important player in enhancing the quality of life for those who need it most.
“They call me the president and CEO, but in reality I’m the chief cheerleader, chief motivator and chief drill sergeant,” Marcotte told ExecutiveBiz in an interview.
To motivate his team toward philanthropy, Marcotte launched the DLT Foundation in 2007. The foundation has supported charities such as the Parkinson’s Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis and the Haiti earthquake relief effort and even received the Sister Eymard Gallagher Award for Corporate Social Responsibility award by the Human Resources Leadership Awards of the D.C. area in 2009.
Marcotte is also moving DLT in a new philanthropic direction. He recently announced a companywide commitment to Martha’s Table in Washington, D.C. This organization helps at-risk children, youth, families and individuals in communities improve their lives by providing educational programs, food, clothing, and enrichment opportunities.
Over at M.C. Dean, Inc., social responsibility has been placed at the top of the list of priorities for corporate initiatives. Since Bill Dean, president and chief executive officer, launched the M.C. Dean Foundation in the fall of 2009, the company has had a positive impact in communities in need and about 40 nonprofit organizations worldwide.
“M.C. Dean, Inc. is more than an engineering and technology company; we are corporate citizens who believe in contributing to the greater good, not only through our core competencies and service offerings, but also by how we give back to the communities where we work and serve,” Dean said.
Whether it’s donating time and energy for educating students at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, Ga., or at Joel Elias Spingarn Senior High School in Washington, D.C. or raising $32,000 for the Salvation Army of Loudoun County for Hurricane Katrina relief and recovery efforts, Dean and the M.C. Dean Foundation are dedicated to making a difference in the communities in which they work and serve.
Juniper Networks’ Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs and Critical Infrastructure Protection Bob Dix provides community support for the beltway by using his greatest asset – his leadership.
Using his knowledge of team dynamics, Dix provides youth with the tools needed to develop its sense of communication, confidence and responsibility through volunteering as an AAU girls’ basketball coach.
“I tell people that I have the great blessing that I get to try and change the world every day in what I do in my professional career,” Dix said. “Then, when I leave that, I get to try to change the world in what I do in my volunteer time and that is spent mostly coaching young people.”
He also serves as president of the Virginia High School League Foundation Board and as a member of the board of trustees for Youth for Tomorrow. He humbly described his efforts as a member of these foundations as “trying to help troubled young people learn more about hope and love, and what life presents them in a positive way.”