Foundation Chairman Alan Lewis both gives and receives honors at the event, which is sponsored by Grand Circle Foundation and hosted by Boston Business Journal
On September 10, 2010, more than 700 guests and honorees gathered at the Renaissance Waterfront Hotel for the Corporate Citizenship Summit, hosted by Boston Business Journal and sponsored in part by Grand Circle Foundation. Now in its fifth year, the event celebrates Massachusetts corporations that have made philanthropy a core tenet of their business philosophy. Grand Circle Corporation, where giving back is deeply ingrained in the company culture, epitomizes this model—so it's no surprise that this event is an important one for Alan and Harriet Lewis, co-chairs of both Grand Circle and Grand Circle Foundation. The company was recognized at the event as ranking #25 among Massachusetts' 60 Top Charitable Contributors, placing higher than several much larger companies including IBM, NSTAR, and Staples.
For Alan, the highlight of the event was the presentation of the CEO Social Leadership Award, which Alan and Harriet created in 2006. The award recognizes a CEO who has made significant contributions to social change in Greater Boston, and includes a $25,000 donation to a non-profit organization of the recipient's choice. This year, Alan presented the award to Kevin McCall, CEO of Paradigm Properties and founder of the nonprofit Building Impact. "We created this award to honor a leader with guts," said Alan in his presentation speech. "Kevin McCall is the real deal. He's a champion of the community." (Fittingly, we've featured Kevin as one of this month's Gutsy Leaders, so you can read more about his nonprofit work here.)
Kevin and Alan both shared best practices during a panel discussion, which was moderated by Babson President Len Schlesinger and also included past CEO Social Leadership Award recipients Bob Glassman of Wainwright Bank and Joel Lamstein of John Snow, Inc. Alan spoke candidly about the challenges he and Harriet faced when they made the decision to begin giving back globally, and he expressed the importance of listening closely to feedback from associates, community partners, and travelers. "They tell us what we do well around our mission," said Alan, "and also what we might not be doing well."
Overall, the summit served as a welcome reminder that good business and good deeds don't have to be mutually exclusive—in fact, they often go hand in hand. The Foundation is grateful to Boston Business Journal for hosting this important event.