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Lyft Is Giving Back... And Creating A New Blueprint For Corporate Social Responsibility

By Diana Brown

The popular ride share app Lyft has begun a campaign to assist in food deserts. Corporate responsibility is no new feat, but Lyft’s new initiative is providing tech companies with inspiration to kick-start their own outlet for giving back.

Lyft introduced its Grocery Access Program in December, developed to assist in providing aid to food deserts. The program is going to begin within the Washington, D.C. area, focusing on the neighborhoods of Wards 7 and 8. The techy ride share company partnered with Martha’s Table, a nonprofit located in D.C., to launch this project. The service provides complimentary rides to families living in food desert conditions, transporting them to nearby markets or to a Martha’s Table location.

So what can Lyft show us? Corporate responsibility is no new feat. That being said, even though it’s the moral thing to do, it can often be hard to convince dollar-conscious business leaders that giving back to their community should be near the top of their priority list. Evidence shows however, that giving back pays off in more ways than one.

Companies that participate in efforts to better the world can have better work environments for their employees and have a positive impact on the communities that they interact with. One study revealed that companies which give back to their surrounding communities employ workers that are 13 times more likely to be eager to attend work than those who work for a company that doesn’t engage in corporate responsibility. The same study also revealed that companies who give back to their surrounding communities experience higher levels of enthusiasm, brand ambassadorship and retention among those they employ. With results like that, it is hard to think of a reason not to engage with some form of corporate responsibility.

Accessibility to fresh groceries is low for residents of food deserts, which include a number of neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. (Credit: Unsplash)

All of these qualities that corporate responsibility efforts instill in employees contribute to an overall greater sense of confidence within a company’s workforce. This confidence stems from a greater appreciation and respect for the company’s ethos and mission, which in turn produces a more productive group of employees and, ultimately, higher returns on all fronts.

A large aspect of the urge to be responsible stems from a company’s desire to mingle with millennials. Bank of America is an example of a corporate giant that prioritizes giving back with their various acts of kindness, including logging employee volunteer hours and giving hefty donations to a plethora of organizations and causes. Though these charitable actions are built into the brand’s ethos, it helps that doing so builds their reputation with a younger crowd. Kerry Sullivan, president of the Bank of America Foundation, was quoted to say that millennials are emphasizing corporate responsibility more than ever. “They want to know, ‘What does this company stand for?’” she says. “They want to know that the company is noble.”’

In addition to marketing toward millennials, many companies have taken climate change under their belt as their motivation to act responsibility. Lyft made headlines again last spring with their plan to invest big towards carbon neutrality. Many other businesses are following suit and creating their own road map for eco-friendly operations.

Options for responsibility are limitless, and it seems beneficial on all fronts for business to start giving back. The only question now is: which cause to support?

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