CVC’s new board will focus on ‘Atlanta way,’ racial healing
The Corporate Volunteer Council of Atlanta’s newly installed board of directors is excited to help move the metro area forward.
By Allison Joyner
Earlier this month, the Corporate Volunteer Council of Atlanta (CVC) — now in its 31st year — installed its new board of directors to bring more awareness to corporate social responsibility (CSR), community engagement and affairs.
To help with this goal, 15 nonprofits have been selected as community partners to interact with the Council’s over 100 corporate members to create improved socially active relationships. Some nonprofit organizations include the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, Hands On Atlanta and Trees Atlanta.
“What we do [at CVC] is provide leading practices and corporate social responsibility, corporate and community relations and environmental and social governance,” said Cheryl Kortemeier, executive director of the council. “We provide those leading practices so our members are best equipped to serve the communities where they work.”
Since 1992, the CVC has been bringing together communities with business professionals to create best practices, strengthen community investment strategies and make a difference through service.
“We can’t have a holistic conversation without those community partners at the table and they help keep us focused and meaningful because they are the boots on the ground and valuable partners to the companies that they work with to help the companies meet their goals and get the work done because they are subject experts,” Kortemeir said.
Last year’s board addressed the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in society. When companies need to take a stand on social issues, the CVC collaborates with its partners to help create approaches to address these important issues for consumers and employees alike.
“With a lot of the social unrest around race that we saw happening in the last couple of years, there were a lot of companies that were grappling with what to do authentically,” said Imara Canady, National Director of Communications and Community Engagement for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and CVC board president.
“The CVC became a place where many of those questions were geared towards people in the CSR space.”
The CVC connects its members with their community partners for an open dialogue on DEI in the workplace and the places they serve. This dialogue helps companies develop a platform on local, national and international issues affecting their communities.
“We know companies have to take a stand on social issues and so they are turning to our CVC members and saying ‘how do we frame this,’” Kortemier said.
Canady told SportaReport that the concept of CSR started as promoting racial healing in communities and seeking to understand how corporations could play a role in that healing process.
“Our lives begin to end the moment we are silent about things that matter,”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“We have the highest wealth gap between the wealthiest and the least wealthy. I think the CVC can provide a space where people can come together and have difficult conversations and test solutions in a safe environment and bounce ideas and problem solve,” Kortemier said.
Canady thinks that economic growth in Atlanta must be distributed equitably. This growth should create opportunity for all people, regardless of race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.
“I think it’s how we are shaping that work,” Canady said. “A lot of that work is some of what we see happening through our membership.”
With the momentum from last year’s 30th-anniversary events — like discussions on “The Atlanta Way 2.0” and finding common ground through disagreements — the CVC has a great start to this year’s programming for its members.
“We had an exciting 30th anniversary that has set the landscape for where we celebrated the past and lifted where we are right now,” Canady said. “We ended last year with a charge of where we are heading and where we have the opportunity to head and the next phase is to come together as a board and get ready to rock and roll to keep moving forward for the next 30-plus years.”
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“Dr. King said, ‘our lives begin to end the moment we are silent about things that matter,’” Canady said. “As I think about the role I play in this space, and in CVC, not only for metro Atlanta but for our country and many other countries around the globe, is that we have a responsibility as individuals who have been blessed to be a part of corporations to stand up and speak out for those things that matter.”