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Celebrating 10 Years of Signature Cause Commitments

Throughout my career, I have architected built to last programs. I was thrilled to see that three had their 10-year anniversaries in the past year, including Amway, American Heart Association, and PNC Grow Up Great.

2013 marks the 10th anniversaries of not one, but three, corporate signature programs that I co-created with my partner-in-Purpose, Kristian Merenda. I am proud to see these programs grow into full-fledged movements that have created meaningful and transformative change, affecting not only those the programs seek to help, but employees and the general public as well. Amway’s One by One Campaign for Children and the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women have already commemorated their decennials, while PNC’s Grow Up Great will hit its ten-year mark in September. Allow me to recognize the tremendous milestones of these programs.

Amway’s One by One Campaign for Children

Ten years in, Amway has remarkably and positively impacted 10 million children around the world. One by One’s mission is centered around inspiring and encouraging individual actions for children in need. When identifying a cause platform in 2003, we needed to determine an issue that could galvanize Amway’s international distributors and employees, while staying true to their corporate vision. Through interviews with their people, we found that helping children in need was a cause close to their hearts. With the combined effort of 3 million distributors, 20,000 employees and several partnering organizations, Amway’s One by One Campaign for Children has implemented efforts such as integrating better nutrition at schools in rural China, disbursing life-saving immunizations for African youth and many more impactful initiatives. Since its inception in 2003, nearly 2.7 million employee volunteer hours have been logged and over $190 million has been donated towards children’s causes. Though this cause program has achieved much, Amway continues to challenge themselves, their distributors and their employees to deepen their impact through the One by One campaign.

American Heart Association’s ‘Go Red for Women’

This February 1st, the American Heart Association painted the country red. Literally: The Empire State Building, the city of Cincinnati, even Elvis’ Graceland were all illuminated in red in honor of the 10th Annual Wear Red Day. Here at Edelman, employees were outfitted in shades of carmine, poppy and crimson to show their support for a critical cause—heart disease in women. Due to 10 years of this program, 330 fewer women die of heart disease each day. In their commitment towards this issue, Go Red for Women has spread awareness among women about heart disease, and challenged them to assess their risk of getting it and take action to prevent it. By giving women the tools to lead a healthy lifestyle, the American Heart Association has impacted the lives of many. Go Red for Women has also funded significant research in preventing heart disease. This campaign’s efforts in spreading awareness for this common killer have been far-reaching and successful, and Go Red for Women will continue its tremendous work until heart disease in women becomes obsolete.

PNC’s ‘Grow Up Great’

In 2003, PNC found meaning in an emergent cause: school readiness. As the bank serves as a supportive pillar in the communities in which it operates, PNC found it vital to strengthen those communities through their rising generations. Its program, Grow Up Great, has since grown into the nation’s foremost corporate commitment to early childhood education. This 10-year, $100 million initiative to help prepare underserved children from birth-to-age-5 for success in school through advocacy, grant making, education volunteerism and measurement has led the field in its strategic thinking, outcomes and social leadership. Grow Up Great has also created strong partnerships and content with prominent players for this target age group, including Sesame Workshop, Head Start and The Fred Rogers Company. To date, more than 1 million preschool age children have been impacted through PNC Grow Up Great grants and programs emphasizing math, science and the arts. What’s more, fifty-five percent of employees strongly agree that PNC Grow Up Great gives them a sense of pride and they are nearly nine times more likely to be engaged with their jobs. PNC has given more than $43 million in Grow Up Great grants, and more than 75,000 teachers have received professional development.

As a result of the success of this program, in October 2011, PNC extended its commitment to early childhood education by $250 million for an additional 10 years. This extension will strengthen existing programs in math and the arts, expand the successful ‘Grow Up Great with Science’ program and equip nonprofit organizations to facilitate financial education instruction for preschoolers.

In celebration of these 10-year anniversaries, we’ve created a list of 10 qualities that a built-to-last sustainable citizenship program must have.

Carol L. Cone wrote this during her tenure at Edelman as Global Practice Chair, Business + Social Purpose. She can be reached at


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