How a Stevie Awards Winner's Philanthropy Helps Client Relationships

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Mar 15, 2012 @ 05:25 PM Foundation of San Francisco, California, USA received a Stevie® Award for Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year - More Than 2,500 Employees in the company awards categories of The 2011 American Business Awards. (The 2012 American Business Awards, the premier business awards program in the U.S.A., are currently accepting entries. Request an entry kit here and submit your entries by the March 28 deadline.) Here we look at what makes's CSR program stand out.'s Philanthropic Model
The Foundation is considered by many to be a global leader in integrating philanthropy and business through its 1/1/1 integrated philanthropy model. This ground-breaking 1/1/1 integrated model—now being replicated by companies around the world—sets aside 1% of’s employee time, 1% of equity, and 1% of product for nonprofits.

The founder of, CEO Marc Benioff, believes that creating a sustainable philanthropic model doesn’t just require monetary commitments, but rather the culmination of all that a company has to offer—most notably an employees’ time and expertise—in order to make a strong impact on each nonprofit that the Foundation serves.

The business awards winner has made tremendous strides since its inception. From a numbers perspective:

  • 250,000 employee hours have been donated to nonprofits. gives employees six paid days per year to volunteer for organizations of their choice, and organizes team volunteering events to help employees connect with their communities;
  • 11,000 nonprofits are using donated Salesforce licenses to better serve their missions; and
  • More than $23 million in grants have been awarded. Funds are dispersed via several distinct grants, including matching gifts for employee donations, employee-championed projects, and funding for technology projects focused on youth development.

The Positive Impact of Philanthropy

While the business award winning company has grown to over 5,000 employees, it still keeps philanthropy at its core through its best CSR program practices, which creates a positive impact on its entire community. From integrated volunteering opportunities for employees, partners, and customers at its annual user conference of more than 25,000 attendees, to Susanne DiBiancahelping the homeless learn to use to become more employable, there is an altruistic spirit amongst the community, spearheaded by the Foundation’s work to “to do good while doing well.”
According to Susanne DiBianca, executive director and co-founder of the Foundation, 2010 was a marquee year for the Foundation.  As a result of’s business success, the Foundation was able to significantly increase its impact on the nonprofit community as well as be recognized for having the CSR program of the year.

American Red Cross
The 1/1/1 integrated model is what makes the Foundation unique, and nowhere can this be seen more clearly than with the Foundation’s work with the American Red Cross, the U.S.A.'s leading disaster recovery organization. Through’s product, time, and grants, the Foundation is helping the American Red Cross to respond to the magnitude of need created by disasters around the world. 

There are more than 60 American Red Cross Chapters across the U.S.A. using donated and discounted Salesforce licenses to run their organizations, from tracking thousands of volunteers and partners handling tens of thousands of public inquiries in the event of a disaster, to fundraising, and health and safety operations.

A large number of employees dedicate their time and expertise to the American Red Cross as well as raise money through partnering with the organization. For example, the corporate award winner's employees raised $200,000 to help the Japan earthquake and tsunami victims, and raised $250,000 for the Haiti earthquake.  As a result, Marc Benioff received the Humanitarian Award from the Red Cross Bay Area Chapter March 9, 2011.
A New Phase
The company award winning foundation has recently embarked on a new phase to achieve not just sustainability, but also growth through its CSR awards winning approach. The company made the strategic decision to adopt a social enterprise model in an effort to scale its 1/1/1 model. The Foundation is essentially set up as a reseller so it can now provide steep discounts to nonprofits, nongovernmental organizations, and higher education institutions beyond the initial 10 free license donations.

Organizations that purchase discounted licenses from the corporate awards winner not only receive affordable technology to efficiently manage data and relationships, but also contribute to the growth and success of all nonprofits using The revenue from these discounted services goes right back into the Foundation to fund grants, product development, and employee volunteer programs. As a result, everyone is working together to create lasting, worldwide social change.

About Suzanne DiBianca:
Suzanne DiBianca is executive director and co-founder of the Foundation.  She directs all Foundation activities and serves as the liaison to community, business and government organizations. Previously, DiBianca was a principal at CSC Consulting Group in the Strategic Services Division, where she worked with Fortune 500 companies to improve organizational performance and enhance leadership capabilities. She also served as the program and marketing director for Partners for Democratic Change, a non-profit organization that provides skills for effective conflict management and alternative dispute resolution to NGOs and government officials abroad. DiBianca serves on a number of boards and advisory councils, including the World Affairs Council's Global Philanthropy Forum, the Entrepreneurs Foundation, the Business Advisory Council to SFUSD and Goodwill Industries.

With 100,000+ customers, is the enterprise cloud computing company that is leading the shift to the social enterprise. Social enterprises leverage social, mobile, and open cloud technologies to put customers at the heart of their business. has headquarters in San Francisco, with offices in Europe and Asia.  For more information call 1-800-NO-SOFTWARE.

Topics: csr awards, best csr, csr program of the year

How Mercedes-Benz Won Business Award for Tackling HIV/AIDS

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, May 19, 2011 @ 10:27 AM
Mercedes Benz South AfricaMercedes-Benz South Africa of East London, Eastern Cape received the Stevie Award for Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year in the Middle East and Africa in The 2010 International Business Awards. (The final entry deadline for this year's IBAs is June 8 - see the entry kit online.)  Here's the story of Mercedes-Benz's efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

In 2007, Sub-Saharan Africa was home to 22 of the 33 million people living with HIV/AIDS. South Africa is the country with the largest number of HIV-infected people in the world (5,7 million plus) with more than 90% of infections affecting the economically active. These statistics were having an adverse impact on South Africa’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which employ significant numbers and contribute about 40% to the GDP.

Through the Siyakhana Project Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) has expanded its globally acknowledged best-practice workplace program to provide HIV/AIDS program support to SMEs and the broader community.

Siyakhana means “to build together” in isi-Xhosam, the local vernacular. In order to achieve the key objectives of the Siyakhana Project, MBSA successfully enlisted the partnership of the Border-Kei Chamber of Business and the Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Health, and obtained financial
support from the German development agency DEG and BroadReach Health Care.

The Siyakhana Project is designed to simultaneously tackle HIV/AIDS at the workplace, in communities, and at the primary healthcare level to ensure a holistic response.

By March 2010 Siyakhana had achieved the following:

  • Implementation of comprehensive HIV/AIDS policies and programs in 55 SMEs.
  • 595 managers trained on HIV/AIDS in the workplace.
  • 164 peer educators trained.
  • 85 nurses trained on HIV/AIDS testing and treatment.
  • 55 successful workplace HIV voluntary counseling and testing campaigns.
  • 9,013 employees trained and counseled.
  • 6,980 employees voluntarily testing for HIV.
  • Establishment of, and ongoing training support to, a private physician network to manage HIV/AIDS care for SME employees and families.
  • 850 HIV-positive patients referred into the treatment program with 150
    people on anti-retroviral treatment (as of March 2010).
  • Capacity building services extended to 12 public-sector primary-healthcare clinics through providing a retired professional nurse and a lay counselor in each clinic, resulting in a 110% improvement in HIV testing rates.

The Siyakhana Project has a built-in monitoring system that tracks project success both quantitatively and qualitatively. Independent external evaluators regularly conduct an evaluation of project performance against operational plans and “best practice.”

Lessons Learned and Future Challenges

The foundation of the Siyakhana Project’s success has been the strong partnerships that MBSA’s HIV/AIDS program has built with the government, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, and community-based organizations.

Organized business involvement is also a key ingredient, and the project showed that SME owners and managers are keen to participate if guidance and hands-on support is provided.  Employees are eager to access testing, however confidence building is required.

While the Siyakhana Project has demonstrated how much can be achieved by forming broad-based partnerships involving both private and public sectors, its sustainability will be  an ongoing challenge requiring full commitment from all partners.

MBSA’s Promise

Managing HIV and AIDS is a core business for MBSA, and its HIV/AIDS program aims to effectively address the development challenge posed by HIV and AIDS to company employees, their families, business operations, and economic and social development. The workplace program extends universal access to quality prevention, treatment, care, and support to all its employees and their dependents.

MBSA is both a key automotive player and a social partner. It has played a significant role in industrial and corporate socio-economic transformation, and continues to do so today. This is evident in the fact that despite the recession, it maintained its corporate social investment spend in excess of R20 million per annum, and that it is a leader amongst its peers in skills development, employee health and well-being programs, and employee benefits.

About Dr. Hansgeorg Niefer
Dr. Hansgeorg Niefer, a qualified professional engineer, started his career with Daimler AG in 1986 at the Sindelfingen plant in Germany. He joined the South African operation in 2002 to head up the manufacturing activities in East London. Dr Niefer has been chairman of the local group of companies since 2005 and has recently been redeployed to head up the Daimler plant in Berlin. He notes, however, that one of his proudest achievements during his tenure in South Africa has been the group's success in the battle against HIV and AIDS, and the opportunity to provide advocacy and support programmes for SMEs, suppliers and retailers alike, as well as assisting communities impacted by HIV and AIDS.

About Mercedes-Benz South Africa
The Mercedes-Benz group of companies in South Africa was established in 1954. Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) manufactures Mercedes-Benz and Mitsubishi vehicles at its plant in East London, Eastern Cape Province. MBSA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG and is one of the largest automotive groups in South Africa.

Topics: business awards, csr awards, corporate social responsibility, mercedes-benze, best csr