AnnieCannons is excited to be among the recipients of The Life Story Grants, a $10 million, three-year initiative funded by the NoVo Foundation to close the on-ramps into the sex trade and open pathways to exit. We have been awarded a six-figure grant over three years so we can deepen our commitment to supporting people experiencing human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation and people who are vulnerable.
Informed by survivors of commercial sexual exploitation, The Life Story Grants invest in solutions that address the systemic failures that allow the commercial sex industry to thrive and profit off of marginalized girls and women, including women of color, trans, LGBTQ, Indigenous and immigrant communities.
AnnieCannons will use this funding to build the ReferAllPlatform. ReferAll is a survivor-centered platform that automates the initial intake when survivors seek support services. It aims to eliminate re-traumatization in the intake process and fix the broken connections in the anti-trafficking continuum of care. ReferAll is designed to launch in the Bay Area as a first step toward providing the tool across the US, and, ultimately, the entire globe.
We are proud to be one of the 15 projects selected to implement systems-based solutions in one of six key areas identified by survivors where inequities enable exploitation: housing, medical needs, law enforcement, trauma and mental health, immigration, and systems impacting youth.
We still need your help to continue building more SurviveTech – technology that helps people survive trafficking and thrive afterward. Please consider donating to one of our SurviveTech initiatives, or to help us train more talented survivors to work on these products, at anniecannons.org/donate
What exactly is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
In a nutshell, CSR is everything a company does to practice sustainable business development. From environmental impacts to philanthropy, CSR is how a business goes beyond the day-to-day and improves their community.
Goals of corporate social responsibility include being economically viable, having a positive impact on society, and preserving the environment. CSR is a growing field due to increased environmental concerns as well as economic and social challenges. More consumers are looking for corporations to be generous participants in society and responsible for environmental protection.
One example of global corporate social responsibility is Starbucks’ plan for 2020 (and beyond): it includes hiring 10,000 refugees across 75 countries, reducing the environmental impact of its cups, and engaging its employees in environmental leadership.
CSR Benefits To Your Company
When down in the thick of running day-to-day business needs, it can be difficult to focus outwards. However, the benefits of corporate social responsibility within a company can far outweigh the time and effort of incorporating it seamlessly into your company. Through CSR programs including philanthropy and volunteer efforts, businesses can benefit society while boosting their own brands.
When a business is out in the community assisting others, that community sees the employees helping and getting their hands dirty, which increases the company profile. While CSR shouldn’t be done simply as a marketing effort, the benefits to a company’s bottom line can come in several forms. The most successful businesses start with a strong foundation of corporate citizenship, showing a commitment to ethical behavior. By creating a balance between the needs of shareholders and the needs of the local community, the company is able to establish brand and company loyalty.
A company’s CSR plan should be aligned with the values and overarching goals of the company. Some businesses promote “give back days” to raise funds for specific charities that are important in their industry. Another way to increase CSR is doing a percentage of pro bono work that helps those who otherwise couldn’t afford it. A robust “reduce, reuse, recycle” plan would be perfect for an environmental engineering firm to lead the way in their industry while becoming more efficient when it comes to managing energy and resources.
Katie Schmidt, the founder and lead designer of Passion Lilie, speaks of the positive impact CSR has on your company image, your brand and your motivation as a business owner. “What the public thinks of your company is critical to its success,” Schmidt told Business News Daily. “By building a positive image that you believe in, you can make a name for your company as being socially conscious.”
CSR Benefits to Your Employees
The best way to begin a new CSR initiative is to include your employees’ opinions on what is important to them. Create an internal team to spearhead the efforts and choose an organization or cause they care about. Keep employees in the loop of the decision process. Contributing to something your employees are passionate about can increase engagement and success.
Of course, if the company has expectations of their employees, it also needs to be supportive with time available to volunteer or work on projects. Many companies offer days off specifically for volunteer work, often every quarter! Team events planned in advance also work well, or regular hours available to devote to legwork or planning.
Once they see the impact they can have, most people are eager to do more. Often new teams are formed and new leadership is seen when working on projects outside the office. Employees learn to think outside the box, both in regards to who to help next as well as how to be efficient and effective. People begin to step outside their comfort zones and learn new skills which can be carried back to the workplace or into their lives.
In fact, 72% of young workers entering the workforce today value jobs where they can make an impact. Businesses making a difference will attract more of the same. Improving your company’s CSR will improve the culture of your workforce. Gone are the days where most employees retire from the same business 40 years later.
Corporate social responsibility changes the employee-employer relationship; rather than being just about a paycheck, people are working together to accomplish something greater than they could do on their own. This level of involvement contributes to happier employees and higher retention rates. With CSR initiatives, everyone wins!
CSR Benefits To the World
Whether your company’s passion is for veteran outreach to improve post-deployment job success or cleaning up the wetlands near your corporate headquarters, there are clients and businesses who want to work with you. Actively working with other companies with similar CSR initiatives builds partnerships that can have an incredible impact.
Garratt Hasenstab, Director of Sustainability at the Verdigris Group, says it best. “Those that we work with, both partner companies and clients alike, are actively engaged in our sustainability efforts and take pride in being involved with a company that is focused on the triple bottom-line of people, planet, profit.” A company’s CSR initiative doesn’t just focus on the results in the office. People love to work with companies who are making a difference, feeling part of something bigger simply through relationships and business transactions.
That’s what you get when you partner with AnnieCannons. Our own corporate social responsibility centers around lifting survivors out of their situations and teaching them how to be amazing programmers. It doesn’t stop with education: our programmers are ready to go to work. They provide high-quality software development and data services with a superior customer experience. By hiring AnnieCannons, your company gets CSR impact with money already budgeted for software design and support. By hiring a designer with a cause, you can make a difference in many lives!
You can also put your company’s volunteer efforts to work through AnnieCannons. Our 501(c)(3) customized volunteer and co-engagement programs allow your staff to use their skills (and develop new ones!) to make an impact through our SurviveTech Incubator program. We offer a range of technical, operations, and marketing roles that can be tailored to various commitments. With SurviveTech, volunteer work yields tangible results like mobile apps that help us build a world without abuse.
All businesses have basic ethical and legal responsibilities. By going beyond with a robust corporate social responsibility initiative, you increase not only the bottom dollar but also the health and happiness of your employees and the local community. Choosing to work with other companies with positive CSRs will maximize your positive impact and you will be able to make even more of a difference.