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Is Poverty Alleviation a Corporate Social Responsibility Issue?

Stevie G. is a Life Coach, Educator and Researcher. He is the founder of Infinite Visionary Training Center in Minnesota.

Successful organizations can help strengthen their communities.

Successful organizations can help strengthen their communities.

How Can Corporations Help Eliminate Poverty?

Poverty alleviation in oppressive communities should certainly be a corporate social responsibility issue. Successful organizations have the necessary tools and resources to help build strong communities. Relying on government legislation and policies isn’t enough to eliminate poverty from struggling neighborhoods. Some progress has been made, but nothing has been dramatically effective enough to eliminate poverty from U.S. cities.

However, a combined corporate effort can make a tremendous difference in transforming environments. The opportunity for organizations to assist in producing communities that thrive with strength and prosperity is extremely significant. Such communities will increase the quality of life, business, and productivity for all partners involved. Thriving communities mean greater business growth and customer loyalty for the surrounding organizations.

The Needs of Struggling Communities

  • Food and shelter
  • Safety programs
  • New start-ups
  • Jobs
  • Employment programs
  • Youth programs
  • Clean environments
  • Education programs to tackle illiteracy
  • Affordable or free education (scholarships, grants)
  • Training programs for creating business leaders

Barriers to Successful Community-Building

  • Drugs and gangs
  • Unwillingness of the residents to work together
  • A sense of hopelessness and despair
  • Distrust among the people of the community

Opportunities for Building a Thriving Community

  • A variety of needs that demand fulfillment
  • Sufficient resources to initiate transformation
  • Established community programs
  • Willing partnerships within community
  • Honest community leaders

Considering the information above, we all can agree that community-building isn’t a cakewalk across the street. The project requires great commitment, collaboration, and knowledge of the needs of people and programs.

Cooperation is key.

Cooperation is key.

Connecting With the Establishment of the Community

The first step for entrepreneurs is to make themselves known to the community. There should be a face-to-face encounter with established programs that are already making a slight difference as well as with local community organizers.

Building a relationship with people who know the ups and downs and ins and outs of the community will go a long way toward mobilizing the necessary resources to bring the initiative into reality. Corporate change-makers who fail to first connect with the community leadership will have a tough time reaching the people who most need the help: the oppressed.

Once a connection has been established in the community, entrepreneurs must communicate the vision based on the needs of the citizens. Emphasis must be placed on eradicating unemployment, increasing opportunities for affordable education, establishing start-ups, pushing environmental awareness, and creating a common unity.

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Importance of Maintaining a Constant Presence

A one-time face-to-face contact isn’t enough to drive a community toward greatness. Sponsors must maintain a continuous presence via communication. Although face-to-face contact will not always be possible, other forms of communication must be in effect. The important thing is to keep constant communication channels open.

Communication strategies include:

  • Flyers and letters
  • Press releases
  • Community meetings
  • Bulletins
  • Social networks, like Facebook pages
  • Community announcements of milestones

Volunteer Representatives

Organizations must maintain an aggressive initiative. Press releases should go out as soon as a goal is achieved. Community meetings should occur at least once a month. Volunteers should be active in the community on a regular basis.

Dealing With Uncooperative Factors

Initiatives often don’t go as smoothly as we would expect. There are always those who put up enough opposition that we may have second thoughts regarding our vision for a community-building venture.

However, organizations must train well-meaning residents on how to create safety within their neighborhoods. Teaching residents to stand up for their community will, in some cases, be difficult because standing up takes courage.

However, a community cannot grow when drug-dealing and gang activity play a dominant role in the everyday life of residents. In many oppressed areas of a city, gang members call the shots. Residents stay inside of their homes for fear of some hurt, harm, or danger occurring.

Cooperative pathfinders must inspire and encourage caring residents to resist the counterproductive activities happening around them. Establishing a neighborhood watch is an effective way to keep crime at bay. Participating residents must keep a watchful eye out for suspicious activity and report it to local law enforcement as soon as possible. As was stated earlier, this strategy will take courage, but there are always heroes who are ready to stand up to the plate.

Everyone Benefits From a Healthy Community

When corporate entrepreneurs take on the responsibility of community-building, everyone has an opportunity to benefit. Thriving communities mean increased value, accelerated growth, and deep collaboration with the residential population. For organizations, successful communities can mean a dynamic customer base, growing revenue, and healthy tax write-offs.


  • What is CSR? (UNIDO)
    Information about corporate social responsibility (CSR) provided by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

The Significance of Corporate Social Responsibility

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

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