Social business, Part 5: Company works with nonprofit to build markets

By Todd Cohen

A key philanthropic goal at Verizon Communications is to work with nonprofits in the areas of health care, education and sustainability in ways that address their immediate needs and help the telecom company understand the effectiveness of its products, said Kathy Brown, senior vice president for corporate responsibility.

“We want to be in new markets with new communities, and we want to be close to the community and have an opportunity to understand customers’ needs and wants,” she explained.

“We can understand much better how we can serve the community through partnerships, we can get metrics that are good for nonprofits on how they’re delivering services,” she said, “and that also are good for us, to see the effectiveness of the products we put into the market.”

In a partnership with the New York City-based Children’s Health Fund, a national nonprofit that provides free primary care through mobile medical units in urban and rural areas, New York City-based Verizon provides tools to protect the security and privacy of health information, as well as wireless technologies for telemedicine and remote diagnostics.

“Our profit isn’t made on these partnerships,” Brown said. “Our profit is made in selling commercial products we understand better” through the partnerships.

The company also benefits because “our customers care that they’re doing business with companies that are responsible,” she explained. “We believe that if we don’t create value for the community, we are not creating long-term value for our shareowners.”

Next: Companies turn to nonprofits to help develop leaders

The series:

Part 1: Companies team with causes to add value

Part 2: Companies build giving into business strategy

Part 3: Philanthropy adds value for companies

Part 4: Nonprofit builds corporate partnerships from ground up

Part 5: Company works with nonprofit to build markets

Part 6: Companies turn to nonprofits to help develop leaders

Part 7: Nonprofits tap corporate expertise

Part 8: Company teams with nonprofit to solve social problems

Part 9: Nonprofits work with companies to help find business solutions

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