Peter Drucker, a pioneer in the world of modern business management, said all leaders are “responsible and accountable for the performance of their institutions” but that they are also responsible “for the community as a whole.”
At the Columbia Urban League, we work to remind businesses that their responsibilities run deeper than their corporate bottom line. Some get it, some don’t. So when Boeing announced major new operations in South Carolina, we had high hopes but tempered expectations. Today, the company’s impact is clear. Where there was once empty land and unemployment, there are now state-of-the-art facilities and 7,500 new jobs. And as other U.S. companies cut back everything deemed “unnecessary,” Boeing is investing in its employees and community.
Boeing’s leaders have clearly carried out their first responsibility — to the performance of the institution and its people. But Boeing has also carried out — and set a very high bar for — responsibility to the community.
Since 2010, Boeing has donated more than $28 million to non-profit organizations focused on South Carolinians’ lives and communities. And Boeing employees have given nearly $1 million of their own money through their Employees Community Fund and volunteered their time to support more than 500 community projects.
We’re especially appreciative of the time Boeing employees have volunteered at our annual STEAM Expo, helping middle school students and exemplifying Boeing’s commitment to inspire the next generation. The expo is just one piece of a broader Urban League program that Boeing has invested $200,000 in geared at raising parental awareness about science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.
A lot has changed in the 100 years since Boeing was born, and Boeing has led the way. Not just through the airplanes, but through the example of a responsible corporate citizen and a model employer, committed to inclusion and diversity. As a result, Boeing is ranked No. 1 in the National Society of Black Engineers’ employer preference survey.
Above all, Boeing has put Drucker’s teachings front and center, fostering an environment of hardworking and dedicated employees who are committed not just to the bottom line, but to their state, their communities and the well-being of South Carolinians.
James T. McLawhorn
President & CEO, Columbia Urban League