In our offices, November means the fast approach of the much anticipated MCI International Business Meeting. Part education summit, part celebration, the IBM has become the turntable to which the MCI culture dances. Moving each year to a different exciting destination, the IBM represents the most positive aspects of the company culture in a vibrant and exciting environment. In recent years, MCI’s strategic plan to weave CSR into the business plan has included a movement to integrate sustainable event management practices more fully into the IBM experience.
In 2009, MCI brought the IBM to Vienna, Austria. In an effort to include a ‘giving back’ element, we collaborated with Kiwi Shoes 4 Africa and also the Play 4 Africa social giving campaigns. MCI teams from around the world brought with them over 850 pairs of shoes which were distributed throughout Africa as part of the Kiwi campaign. We also passed the hat and asked for cash contributions from the team. The cash raised was matched by MCI founder and President Roger Tondeur and was donated to the Play 4 Africa campaign. The donation was enough to purchase 40 full football kits for residents of a UN refugee camp in Africa.
Encouraged by the enthusiastic response from our team, we sought to create an even more exciting project for IBM 2010, Istanbul, Turkey. We learned from the Vienna experience that community giving campaigns need clear strategy to avoid pitfalls common to such actions. A framework of principles and guidelines are needed to select a campaign which aligns with our unique culture and brand. Also, better planning can result in better partnerships and the creation of a campaign whose results match the intended, desired outcome. That’s not always the case with giving campaigns. For example, we learned that organizations must be careful in giving products to vulnerable communities as this can negatively affect local business. This earlier post helps review the Do’s and Don’ts of community giving campaigns.
Working with the MCI Executive Team, we created guidelines to inform MCI Community Action Projects. Any project we undertake must Build Community, Promote Education, and Inspire Fun.
We call our initiative the Power of Action.
Partnering with the Young Guru Academy, MCI, and MCI partners including the Istanbul CVB, we will raise funds to build a children’s library whose curriculum is specifically designed to inspire creative thinking. The Read Think Share program has already built 110 such libraries to benefit disadvantaged youth throughout Turkey and we aim to build number 111. Here’s Ali from The Young Guru Academy sharing a bit about Read Think Share
To add an element of fun, our MCI team have invited the 100 graduating students of the Read Think Share program to join us in a spirited afternoon where we’ll construct sculptures of iconic landmarks using ‘waste’ materials. After the completion of the IBM event, we’ll select a representative from an MCI office to participate in the classroom along side University students to teach the kids selected for the Read Think Share program. It’s a great opportunity to build our commitment to social responsibility from within.
Check out the presentation explaining our 2010 project MCI Power of Action.
We’re excited about this collaboration and for the opportunity to make a difference for the community of Istanbul. Stay tuned for updates and result of the effort.