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Clifford Chance’s Innovative Approach to CSR

“Our partners are developing as leaders while helping nonprofits to achieve greater results,” said Craig Medwick, Regional Managing Partner for Clifford Chance in the Americas.  “Our attorneys are making serious, thoughtful commitments to organizations they care about.  And we are investing in organizations that are

“Our partners are developing as leaders while helping nonprofits to achieve greater results,” said Craig Medwick, Regional Managing Partner for Clifford Chance in the Americas.  “Our attorneys are making serious, thoughtful commitments to organizations they care about.  And we are investing in organizations that are helping to build healthier, more educated, and more sustainable communities.”

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Two years ago, when the general economy began to sour and many corporate philanthropies tightened their belts, one of the world’s largest law firms — Clifford Chance — launched a strategic plan to enhance its corporate social responsibility efforts.  The objective was to focus its U.S. philanthropic investments and efforts more purposefully to help advance corporate responsibility and leadership development.

 

Medwick was one of the chief architects of the plan.  Based on what the firm has achieved since the plan was initiated, there’s a great deal that other companies can learn about leveraging dollars for greater impact.

 

Nearly 40 partners from its offices in New York and Washington, D.C. have joined global, national, and regional boards, often after spending months exploring a variety of options to determine where they can add value.  Many of them have also stepped up into board leadership roles. 

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William Foote, Founder and CEO, Root Capital, comments that “Juan Morillo of CC has brought new perspectives and vitality to the board. His personal experience and professional expertise, and his firm’s commitment make him a major asset in helping us move Root Capital to the next level.”  Root Capital is a nonprofit social investment fund that is pioneering finance for rural grassroots businesses in developing countries. 


Ana Langer, M.D., CEO of EngenderHealth, reports that CC’s Wendy Wysong brings “a wealth of nonprofit board experience along with her firm’s commitment.  Wendy is a strong advocate and a natural leader.”

 

The firm supports pro bono legal work and firm-wide volunteerism in a serious way.  The American Red Cross Greater New York, Student Sponsor Partners, and City Year New York are just a few examples of where the firm integrates board service, financial giving, pro bono and volunteerism.

 

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In this challenging economy, businesses that invest their limited philanthropy and volunteer capital wisely will achieve multiple benefits in developing leaders, boards, and nonprofits for stronger communities.

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About the author

Korngold provides strategy consulting to global corporations on sustainability, facilitating corporate-nonprofit partnerships, and training and placing hundreds of business executives on NGO/nonprofit boards for 20+ years. She provides strategy and board governance consulting to NGO/nonprofit boards, foundations, and educational and healthcare institutions. Korngold's latest book is "A Better World, Inc.: How Companies Profit by Solving Global Problems…Where Governments Cannot," published by Palgrave Macmillan for release on 1/7/14

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