Reaching out Featured

9:32am EDT July 22, 2002

Ed Davidson has a simple philosophy: "To get, you gotta give."

Davidson, CEO of Cooperative Resource Services Ltd., says the philosophy is a part of him and a part of how he's always done things. That would explain why he gives his enthusiasm and financial resources, a large chunk of his personal time and his entrepreneurial talents to charities and causes, and sees to it that his employees have time to do the same.

"The universe is a vacuum," he says. "So if you want to be loved, you better give it; if you want money, you better give it."

Davidson's company, CRS, provides outsourced employee relocation services, including mortgage services, appraisal management and corporate relocation policy consultation.

"Our culture, the actual mission statement of our company, is to deliver complex relocation and real estate service to our stakeholders," he says. "The thing is, we've always considered the community to be one of our stakeholders."

Several years ago, to ensure his mission, Davidson created the Davidson Foundation, a public charity to which 5 percent of CRS' corporate profits are granted. Additionally, he is committed to local charities, including the Jewish Community Federation, the Center for Families and Children, Cleveland Sports Stars Hall of Fame, United Cerebral Palsy, the March of Dimes, Project Love, United Way 20 Plus Club, American Cinema Awards and The Actors Fund.

Davidson has also made a commitment to a planned gifts initiative for the Cleveland Jewish Federation. He estimates that $15 trillion will pass intergenerationally in the next 10 years.

"A lot of that is going to end up going to taxes," he says. "But by the use of certain planned giving techniques, people can not only minimize the amount that's going to go to the government, they also tremendously help themselves and charities."

But Davidson says corporate giving is more than simply charity from the top of an organization. Employees truly make the difference. So it's no surprise that he is quick to deflect credit to his CRS REACHOUT program, a system that rewards employees for volunteerism.

"We give our employees up to four days off per year for charitable efforts, and partially match contributions they make to those charities," he says. "The net result has been that over the period of the last two years, we've seen almost a fivefold increase in the community service our employees have done; we actually measure it."

Nationally, nearly 500 CRS employees participate in the program.

Because the side effects of good deeds are generally good, giving money to charity doesn't just help local people in need, it also helps employees take pride in their work. By matching employee contributions to local charities and congratulating them for philanthropy, Davidson says, you're telling them that it pays to have a high mission of service.

And, you also bring good people to the company.

"If you are the kind of organization that gives back, you tend to attract good people," says Davidson. "We're very vocal in terms of our new-hire campaigns to let people know the kind of company they're working for." How to reach: Cooperative Resource Services, (440) 684-5301

Courie Weston (cweston@sbnnet.com) is a reporter for SBN.