The pandemic and societal challenges continued to further our Edelman value – The Commitment to Positively Impact Society – and to generate constructive change and support where we work and live. We elevated this commitment through our pro bono and volunteer initiatives, our investments in global Community Investment Grants, and the desire of our 6,000 employees to build inclusive and sustainable communities. We demonstrated that Action Builds Community.
Our Engagement in Community
Employee engagement rose 5% in FY22 with Edelman’s community engagement, environmental, human rights and sustainable procurement policies contributing to that increase, our FY22 employee survey found.
Employees believe Edelman and they are contributing to the greater good, with 81% believing the agency has effectively adapted their own global citizenship efforts to adjust to societal changes due to COVID-19. The annual survey also found eight in 10 believe Edelman has created a culture where global citizenship is valued, three-fourths say our culture values volunteerism, and 68% think the agency has created a culture sensitive to its environmental impact.
Consequently, the percentage of employees committed to being social and environmentally responsible increased to 94% from 73% in FY22. And those believing they make a meaningful difference to societal causes climbed to 58% from 43%.
We give each full-time employee eight hours of time to participate in Edelman organized and individual pro bono or volunteer projects. Pro bono partnerships continue essential to our citizenship endeavors around the world, with a new partnership model in place in FY22. The three-category classification – Flagship for global, Premiere for national, and Local as local office/market – ensures a holistic and consistent way to evaluate opportunities, involve more employees, and achieve higher pro bono hours.
Pro Bono & Volunteerism Investment
Edelman continued in FY22 to align its pro bono projects against five United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Climate Action, Quality Education, Reduced Inequalities, Gender Equality, and Good Health and Well-being. This offers our offices a holistic and consistent way to evaluate opportunities and create greater impact. Overall, we achieved an 86% alignment rate, with the Reduced Inequalities goal accounting for the most pro bono work among the five, at 33%, with Climate Action accounting for the least, at 9%. Our employees’ volunteer hours climbed 34% to 7,804 from 5,738 in FY21 when the first year of the pandemic curtailed volunteerism. The FY22 hours represented a $220,303 investment. Pro bono hours, however, slipped 24% to 12,028, representing an investment of $2.34 million. Hours spent by employees in board advisory roles rose nearly 23% to 1,871, increasing overall employee investment in such activities in FY22 to $2.93 million.
Edelman Mexico City Supports Reforestation of Urban Forest
Edelman Mexico employees participated in a volunteer outing supporting Pronatura, a Mexican nonprofit focused on the conservation and resilience of biodiversity and environmental services. Thirty-plus Mexico City office employees contributed to the reforestation of the Bosque de Aragón, an urban forest located northwest of Mexico City.
Edelman Chicago Helps Distribute Computers to Students
Edelman, alongside Hewlett Packard and Affordable Connectivity Program, donated 130 new computers to Chicago Public School students and their families through a new technology donation program with Comp-U-Dot, a nonprofit that provides technology access and education to under-resourced youth and their communities. Edelman, HP and ACP are each donating one percent of the value of every computer Edelman purchases to provide new computers annually to students.
For many communities in the South African province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, where access and funds for fresh produce is scarce, the Mbokazi Vegetable Garden was created to promote social cohesion and community empowerment to students at a primary school. The Edelman Africa team donated garden necessities and provided hands-on support, and the garden assisted hundreds of local families.
Working with Heart2heart Shanghai, Edelman Shanghai office held a charity bazaar and raised enough money to help a Tibetan girl, Dawa, complete the operation for congenital heart disease.
Employees Tap 33 Nonprofits for Community Investment Grants
Employees with a cause they support can recommend the nonprofit for a Community Investment Grant to receive up to $2,500 in funding. The Edelman program has awarded over $1,425,000 over the past 11 years to support 973 local organizations around the world with whom our employees volunteer. All grants align to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.
In FY22, we funded $81,500 in grants to 33 nonprofits. Recipients use their funds to further their mission and help us build stronger, healthier, and happier communities. Here’s how many of the FY22 recipients used their awards:
Action for Ability Development and Inclusion (AADI), New Delhi: Supported its Urban Community-Based Rehabilitation Program, which works toward the inclusion, participation, well-being, habilitation, and rehabilitation of people with disabilities.
Oakland Theater Project, Oakland, Calif.: Supported its ability to livestream the West Coast premiere of the play "Endlings" by Celine Song about three elderly Korean “sea women” who harvest seafood with only rusty knives.
Project Hope Boston, Roxbury, Mass.: Supported its housing services department that provides hundreds of families with housing search and placement, eviction prevention, and shelter diversion services.
Sick Cells, Lisle, Ill.: Funded its Warriors with Pride Campaign, which highlights unique stories of LGBTQ+ members in the sickle cell disease community and used to share stories from the Latino community living with SCD.
Ruth Edelman Annual Citizenship Award
The Ruth Edelman Citizenship Award, given annually since FY16, recognizes the team and individuals who develop and execute the pro bono project that demonstrates Edelman Citizenship to the highest extent. The $5,000 award honors the legacy of Edelman’s late deputy chairman and the wife and life partner of our founder who supported numerous health organizations and nonprofits throughout her life.
The award illustrates how our offices and employees can impact a specific societal issue in partnership with a nonprofit client and it drives collaboration across Edelman offices and practices. For FY22, the award goes to Edelman’s London office for its work with Race Equality Matters, a not for profit community interest company, in launching the #MyNameIs ‘Fuh-Net-Ic Filter’ campaign during Race Equality Week, an annual UK movement to address workplace barriers to race equality.
Mispronunciation of names is the most common micro-aggression toward minorities in the UK, a poll revealed. And fear of speaking up leads to people accepting wrong pronunciations, such as taking on an anglicized name at work or letting people use an “easy” nickname instead of their real name.
Race Equality Matters and Edelman utilized the Fuh-Net-Ic filter, a social tool with a database of over 500,000 names with different phonetic spellings from over 70 countries and pronunciations in 22 languages. The filter let anyone share the phonetic spelling of their names and the stories behind them. During the weeks following the launch, over 55,000 people worldwide shared stories about their name origin, their ancestors and their identity.