Honoring a legacy of service and commitment to community

“A beautiful word with a big meaning.” To George H.W. Bush, this was community – the foundation of our nation and the vital network connecting us. As the late president put it, the United States is a nation of community, a “brilliant diversity, spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.”

Three decades ago, Bush foresaw the importance of community – of valuing, cultivating and, most importantly, of giving back to community. His inauguration speech re-invigorated the spirit of volunteerism and inspired today's corporate commitment to integrating pro bono and volunteerism work into business strategy.

He grasped the importance of not just giving back – but also of formalizing this process and creating accountability. As we honor his legacy and remember his life, we see his words and mission as clearly and urgently as we heard them in 1988. He established Points of Light shortly thereafter to incorporate giving back into our nation’s DNA. It has become the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, mobilizing millions of people to act in changing the world through global partnerships with nonprofits and corporations.

It is this proactive, sustained approach to service that we work to harness through Edelman’s Citizenship program, where giving back is core to our culture and guided by our investment in the communities where we operate. Our approach reflects our own research: The 2018 Trust Barometer revealed that nearly two-thirds – 64 percent – of global respondents believe a company can take actions that both increase profits and improve economic and social conditions in the community where it operates.

This outlook also has served as a catalyst for the modern Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement as we know it, demonstrated by bold initiatives such as Impact2030, an organization founded to facilitate collaborations that advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. As we continue to work toward a better future within and across our communities, we recognize the importance of setting goals, forging partnerships and making lasting investments.

As Bush so succinctly said: “Any definition of a successful life must include service to others.” Edelman is proud to help honor his life through our global commitment to service and community involvement.

John Edelman is managing director, Global Engagement and Corporate Responsibility.