Tonight, the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, co-founded by Paul Newman, will award Liquidnet Holdings, Inc. the Small Company Award for demonstrated excellence in philanthropy according to the following criteria: CEO leadership, innovation, measurement, and partnership.
In a private interview with Liquidnet CEO Seth Merrin, he described the centerpiece of Liquidnet’s Global Social Engagement Program – the company’s partnership with the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village, a residential community for orphans in Rwanda, a response to the 1994 genocide. The village is a special project of The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
“Through the Rwanda program, we are pursuing a holistic approach to a large problem with an innovative solution. We are giving orphans a chance at life, creating the next generation of leaders for the country,” explains Merrin. With support from Liquidnet, the village provides food, medical care, and psychological services to the children, in addition to a school that is equipped with computers and wireless internet. “The youth village is a place of promise and perhaps a beacon of hope in Africa. That’s its potential,” says Merrin.
Liquidnet’s global employees support the Rwanda program in a variety of ways, from providing technical assistance, to public speaking and awareness-building in their communities, fundraising, and hands-on projects in group trips to Rwanda. One British employee who works in the Hong Kong office for this New York based company ran across the Gobi desert in China to raise money for the children in this youth village in Rwanda.
Liquidnet welcomes the families of employees to participate as well. “Most people want to give back. They just don’t know how. We give them an opportunity. A bond. For our employees, their families, and their friends,” explains Merrin.
The company commits 1% of its gross revenues to philanthropy, a very high rate especially for a small business and one that is business to business, not consumer-oriented.
In addition to the Rwanda program, the company also offers employees the Liquidnet Double Down, through which the company provides a financial match for the contributions of time and money that employees make to eligible charitable organizations, in effect doubling the impact of their social engagement. “We believe in the power of each individual to make a difference,” says Merrin.
Kudos to CECP for picking a winner!