In 1929, Gordon Battelle imagined a company that could solve big problems and use its success to give back. Fast-forward about 80 years, and his namesake organization, Battelle Memorial Institute, is still committed to supporting people in need to “do the greatest good for humanity.”
Led by President and CEO Jeffrey Wadsworth, the company is an independent research and development organization working to advance scientific discovery and application. Being in the business of innovation, as its tagline says, Battelle is especially interested in “the future leaders and innovators of America.” To spark the curiosities of those students and develop them professionally, Battelle created Ohio STEM Learning Network — a statewide system of schools and programs enhancing education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The goal is preparing students for college, careers and citizenship.
At its core, Battelle is all about giving. At the corporate level, in accordance with Gordon’s will, Battelle donates at least 20 percent of its revenue to nonprofits, particularly education-related ones. And at the individual level, Battelle encourages staff members to give to charities of their choice through their time or money. Team Battelle projects, which must meet corporate citizenship guidelines, address community needs while tapping into staff interests.
The Battelle Charitable Distributions Committee reviews every request individually, but it also runs detailed proposals up against Battelle’s mission and capacity to invest. For example, the company stays business smart by focusing its efforts where it already has a presence.
Employees serve their local communities in the key areas of arts and culture, civic and community, health and human services, and education. In 2009, staff members volunteered on more than 50 projects and the company’s combined philanthropic efforts exceeded $17 million.
The list of organizations Battelle has supported runs pages, from the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run to the Center of Science and Industry, from Cleveland First to Tour de Cure and all of the school boards, food banks, scholarships and chambers in between.
Battelle’s executives also commit their time and support by serving on community boards. Wadsworth sits on seven, including COSI, Achieve Inc. and the Ohio Business Roundtable. Other executives and corporate officers support organizations like Columbus Downtown Development Corp., Goodwill Columbus, Columbus Symphony Orchestra and John Hopkins Global Engagement Department.