By: Tyler Lawrence, Andrew Marquardt, and William Erblich
This summer at Ethisphere, we gave our interns William Erblich and Andrew Marquardt a research project: which of the hundreds of companies with whom we work has the most robust, well thought out, and generally impressive corporate social responsibility program? After weeks spent looking at dozens of companies, their answer was clear: The Boeing Company. The company’s vice president of Global Engagement, John Blazey, chats here with the two of them and our executive editor. Listen to the full podcast here.
Tyler Lawrence: John, can you just tell us a little bit about what you do at Boeing and what your role is?
John Blazey: Happily. My title here at Boeing is Vice President for Boeing Global Engagement, and I lead the company’s charitable and philanthropic activities throughout the country and the globe. We here at Boeing are on track to donate and invest into communities about $200 million this year, which from our perspective is a significant investment in our local communities but also is a significant investment in our people and the towns in which our employees live and work and where we do our business.
TL: That’s quite a sum of money. When Boeing thinks about corporate giving, what is your overall strategy? How are you identifying where you would like to focus your efforts?
JB: For Boeing, we look at our community investment as a social responsibility, both in terms of it being a short-term business priority, but also as one of our longer Enduring Values, and it’s foundational to everything that we do here. Our focus is on three major pillars. The first one is developing tomorrow’s innovators, both to feed our pipeline here in the aerospace community and to fill those high-skilled jobs for the 21st century.
Then, our second major pillar is aiding our military veterans and their families as they transition from military service to our country to the civilian workforce. Third, we also recognize that Boeing, as a socially responsible corporate leader, has an obligation to ensure that we address and work with some of our community partners to ensure that our employees have very good places to live and work, and we have a conducive environment to conduct our business. We invest strategically into those communities that have pressing needs. As an example, here in Chicago where our headquarters are located, we are investing in urban violence reduction activities, providing opportunities for youth. In Puget Sound and in Southern California, we’ve got some significant investments in environmental stewardship.