“My daughter, who is studying healthcare policy in graduate school, is schooling me that the biggest financial burden on our healthcare system will not be the aging baby boomer population; it will be the outdated healthcare delivery system.” President Bill Clinton used this as one of the examples of delivery systems and financial models that need to be reinvented – healthcare, energy, financial services, and product distribution.
President Clinton also talked about the increasing popularity of corporate social responsibility (CSR) as it proves its merits to the financial bottom line for businesses and the social good. “The perception that businesses must choose between turning a profit and improving the communities where they operate is outdated and irrelevant in our interdependent world,” said President Clinton. He noted the expanding success of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) now in its fifth year. CGI has gained commitments valued at $46 billion, many by some of the world’s leading companies. “They are demonstrating that investments in social and environmental programs in local communities and on other continents benefit both society and the bottom line.”
President Clinton made his comments at a small gathering of business and nonprofit leaders at the Brookings Institution. Also featured were Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company, and Patricia Woertz, Chairman of the Board of Directors, CEO, and President, Archer Daniels Midland Company.
With messages from the morning on my mind about reinventing service delivery models, CSR, nonprofit/for-profit partnerships, and economic development, I went to lunch with Jeff Franco, the executive director of City Year Washington, DC. Franco talked about Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of DC Public Schools, the role she is playing in transforming the education delivery system in DC, and the expanding collaboration between City Year and DC public schools through City Year’s “Whole School, Whole Child” initiative. Franco talked about measuring success by increasing the graduation rates above present levels (about 50% in many urban communities). He also talked about City Year investing in its core members as future leaders, much as Teach for America develops its alumni (one of whom is Rhee herself).
Next stop in my day was to a highly enterprising nonprofit business model. Julius Walls, Jr. is the CEO of Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, New York, whose motto is “We don’t employ people to bake brownies. We bake brownies to employ people.” Greyston is a hybrid for-profit/nonprofit that generates revenues from the sales of brownies to fund its jobs programs, childcare, healthcare, and housing (including new green housing) for the underprivileged.
New business models, systemic changes, and public-private partnerships that foster economic development and environmental sustainability.
While you ponder how your business can engage productively while serving its own economic interests, buy a scrumptious brownie from Greyston Bakery here.