According to Harold (“Terry”) McGraw III, Chairman, President and CEO, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), nonprofit board service is a key qualification for any executive he might hire or promote. In a private interview with me, Terry McGraw explained that “If I don’t see that [board service], I’m discouraged about the candidate. I want to see how complete a person is. Board participation tells me a lot about someone’s interest and experience in teambuilding and openness toward coaching. A candidate who doesn’t serve on nonprofit boards is underdeveloped.”
McGraw also believes that as the CEO, he needs to be a role model through his own community service and nonprofit board participation. “Otherwise, no one will take this seriously.” McGraw chairs the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), and serves on the boards of the New York Public Library, National Organization on Disability, National Academy Foundation, Council for Economic Education, and Prep for Prep, among others. McGraw also serves on the boards of public companies.
Just like the CEOs I consult to and write about, McGraw’s very first board of directors experiences were on local community nonprofit boards early in his career. “I started by volunteering with blood drives and United Way, and then serving on local YMCA and United Way boards.”
McGraw-Hill provides volunteerism opportunities for all its employees. This way, says Terry McGraw, “we create an environment where our employees feel good about the company, we help improve the communities where our employees and customers live and work, and we align our brand with a relevant and important cause.” Some of McGraw-Hill’s philanthropy and volunteer programs in the U.S. and abroad focus on financial literacy, directly linking their community mission to the company as a global leader in education, financial services, and business education.
Through its Financial Literacy Now program, McGraw-Hill partners with hundreds of schools in New York City, Chicago, and Houston, and also supports nonprofits that promote financial literacy and economic empowerment. The company also leverages its contributions and resources by training teachers through digital technology, and providing education to microfinance lenders in emerging markets like India.
Terry McGraw also stresses the importance of measuring impact, the subject of a new research report from CECP. “Measuring the Value of Corporate Philanthropy,” released today, concludes that corporate philanthropy programs that “serve critical social needs and create long term business value are most likely to be sustainable and to contribute to a more successful business whole.”
It’s great to see increased C-Suite leadership of CSR and more attention to the value of measurement. In providing a methodology for companies to measure the impact of their philanthropy and volunteerism programs (1996), I cautioned that the trend in business volunteerism might merely be a flash in the pan, unless companies conducted studies to document and measure the benefits that accrue to companies, employees, and the community. In 2005, when I expanded on the business case and my measurement model, I emphasized the importance of companies aligning their philanthropy and service with their corporate missions, and that “companies are more likely to invest more seriously in initiatives that produce measurable results.”
As Terry McGraw observed, “In the past several years, CSR has moved from the periphery to become a key element of the corporate strategy.” Furthermore, he noted that in order to attract and retain the next generation of employees, companies must have vibrant service programs. “This generation has grown up volunteering, they enjoy it, and they expect their employers to encourage and embrace it.”