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Gives and Gets: FedEx and The Salvation Army at the US Chamber BCLC National R4 Conference

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The National R4 Conference – Revitalization, Reinvention Resilience and Responsibility - took place in Las Vegas in July. I had the pleasure of serving as a panelist for a session on “Responsibility and Community.” Other panelists included leaders from Kimberly-Clark Corporation, TXU Energy, the Environmental Defense Fund, and The Salvation Army.

Supported by fellow panelist Major Ethan Frizzell with The Salvation Army, I spoke about the EnviRenew initiative that FedEx is sponsoring with The Salvation Army in collaboration with the US Green Building Council, Harvard, MIT, the US Chamber BCLC and other leading organizations. The initiative is focused on long term recovery work and “building back better” – in more environmentally sustainable ways – after disasters.

At a recent meeting of EnviRenew principals, Frizzell asked us to share our “Gives and Gets” regarding the initiative. I shared that a primary “Give” for FedEx in support of EnviRenew is to leverage our strength as a thought leader to bring awareness of EnviRenew to the corporate community. Helping provide entry for Frizzell to the BCLC conference platform helped with this end, giving voice to EnviRenew, which was birthed by Frizzell as an outcome of long term recovery work in New Orleans following hurricane Katrina.

During the panel discussion at the conference, Frizzell proposed an idea that donors consider putting more emphasis on long term recovery. In many cases, corporate donors jump on board the “donation train” while the media cameras are rolling, committing large sums of money to relief efforts. Not a lot of thought seems to be given to long term recovery…what happens long after the media leaves town and the most pressing immediate needs have been met.

After large scale disasters, sometimes more money is collected than can be used for immediate relief. Relief organizations have sometimes been criticized for applying funds given for one disaster recovery effort in support of a different disaster recovery effort, even though immediate needs were taken care of.

What if a company pledged $500,000 in support of a relief effort, with the understanding that it would be distributed over a five-year period? Only $100,000 would be provided the first year, with specific, measurable outcomes identified and the second $100,000 installment would only be provided if the relief organization delivered agreed upon outcomes with the first installment. Some of the outcomes could be modeled after the EnviRenew approach (see www.envirenew.org). Frizzell postulated that if large numbers of big donors took this approach, more sustainable long term recovery may be the result.

The donor “give” might be a more measured approach to recovery and the community “get” might be a healthier and more vibrant community.

What do you think?

Comment (1) 

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Greetings. I greatly appreciate FedEx taking such an innovative leadership role in long term recovery. The opportunity to do the most good through a disciplined long term recovery approach is an opportunity to have the greatest effect for those effected, their economy, and the environment surrounding them. I am always amazed at the strength of people in times of disaster. Might we honor the local communities by engaging them fully in their own recovery. Recognizing that this approach while considered long term is right on time. FedEx is the right partner for such a delivery approach.

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