At least that's the case at Applied Industrial Technologies, where philanthropic corporate culture is achieved through, among other things, executive example. There have been CEO scooter races and pies in the face -- all in the name of corporate giving. And what does all of this do for the reputation of the senior executives?
According to David Pugh, chairman and CEO of Applied, it creates a corporate culture that encourages a commitment to community.
Corporate executives and managers are the driving force behind many of Applied's fund-raising programs, but Pugh is quick to add that, "There is no one here that wouldn't be willing to sacrifice for the cause."
The causes are many, including Harvest for Hunger, which has recognized Applied twice with the Bag of Hope award, and partnerships with the Alfred Benesch Elementary School and Applewood Centers, among others.
Besides creating an atmosphere of giving and loyalty throughout the company, Pugh says Applied's programs are about bolstering the community around its headquarters; its Corporate Mission Statement even includes the phrase, "a commitment to community."
And that statement had enough behind it to bring Pugh to take the job as CEO in 1999.
"It is one of the reasons I came here," says Pugh. "It was a prime factor. I knew this company has a stated core value."
According to Pugh, that core value extends beyond those it helps outside the company; it also affects the internal atmosphere.
"It is a unifying factor," he says. "What it does, when our employees see their peers reaching outside to help someone, they feel they will get that same help inside the company. It allows them to take risks."
And for Pugh, the hard work and substantial contributions of his employees are a great source of pride.
"I guess some ... hard-liners question, 'Is this a wise use of shareholder money?' And some might say it is not the role of a CEO to have a social agenda," says Pugh. "But if you have a heart, you can't see someone in need and not be impacted." How to reach: Applied Industrial Technologies, (216) 426-4000