Twin Cities Business: Leaders in Giving: People
Published on January 2, 2019
A look at philanthropic efforts by corporate givers.
Jacquie Berglund is founder and CEO of Finnegans Brew Co., which donates all of its profits to hunger relief in the markets where its craft beer is sold. Last year, Berglund opened the Finnegans Brewery & Taproom in Minneapolis. The Elliot Park complex includes the Finnovation Lab, an entrepreneurship incubator for mission-driven businesses.
“I’m driven by my passion to prove that you can do well and do good—running a successful business and benefiting others are not mutually exclusive.”
Question Yours was the first beer company in the world to donate 100 percent of its profits to charity. Sixteen years later, with mounting competition, you opened a brewery and taproom. How does a benefit corporation set itself up for growth?
Answer We decided to go big or go home, but that meant we needed to raise capital for the brewery. We needed investors, and that’s complicated for a 100 percent donation model business. So we changed our structure. I looked to Newman’s Own—the longest-running benefits company—for advice. They’ve really taken me under their wing, and any time I have questions, they are there to help.
The new structure is a bit more complicated but better positions us for growth and to increase our giving. FINNEGANS Brew Co. is a new company created to brew the beer and operate the brewery and taproom through a licensing agreement with Finnegans SBC (specific benefit corporation), which continues to donate 100 percent of its profits. Royalties from the brewery go to the FINNEGANS Community Fund, which is dedicated to alleviating hunger. In a nutshell, this model—the Newman’s Own model—allowed us to get working capital into the business and still be true to our mission.
My competitors tend to think I’m nuts. But I’m driven by my passion to prove that you can do well and do good—running a successful business and benefiting others are not mutually exclusive. And this recent expansion shows you can scale a social business model. We’ve already made a $1.3 million impact since 2003. We want to be a catalyst for others. With our new Finnovation Lab, we’re growing, supporting, and launching social businesses. We’re seeing more and more entrepreneurs saying, “We want to do something good, too.” Right out of college, they’re launching socially minded businesses. It’s so inspiring, and we’re here to guide them.
Andy Huynh is founder and chief technology officer of BTM Global, a systems integration firm with 130 employees and offices in Minneapolis and Vietnam. BTM donates time, materials, and money to vulnerable children in the Twin Cities and in Vietnam, where Huynh was born and raised until he immigrated to Minnesota when he was 13. In 2018, Huynh and other BTM executives founded Kid Promise, a nonprofit devoted to improving the lives of children in Vietnam.
“Our employees know that the leadership team cares—not just about revenue.”
Question You’ve made it a priority to give back since the inception of BTM Global in 2004—but without any of the hype we see from some mission-driven brands today. So where do your business and your philanthropic goals intersect? And how do you manage both?
Answer In order to help others, you’ve got to make sure you’re successful in whatever you do first. I really wasn’t thinking about doing charitable work when I started this business, after working in the field for many years. But when we opened our office in Vietnam 14 years ago, a couple of charitable organizations approached and asked me to visit their orphanages. I looked around and thought, they need a lot of help. So BTM started donating clothing, food, and supplies. Then I started looking to do more.
Our company is built around having good people—we are a service business. If you want a company to grow, your resource is the younger generation. That’s why our focus is around children. In a better environment, kids can strive for a better life. Education is a vehicle to get out of poverty.
We give back because it comes from our hearts. But after so many years of doing this work, we had people who wanted to help. We recently started a foundation so we could take donations. We are small. We want 99 cents of every dollar going directly to families, to children in need. We all pitch in. We just try to do as much as we can with our time, with the resources we have.
Every day, we do the work we enjoy and also get the chance to help others as much as we can. Our employees know that the leadership team cares—not just about revenue. We want to make sure people [at BTM] are successful and also help others so that someday they’ll have a chance to get to where they want to be. And maybe someday, they’ll come work for us.
Kevin Warren is chief operating officer of the Minnesota Vikings.
“I challenge everyone to view the tough issues we face in society with a positive and energetic spirit and focus on making the world a better place.”
Question You were the keynote speaker for the 2018 Minnesota Keystone celebration. The Minnesota Vikings are part of the Keystone program, and the Vikings created the Minnesota Vikings Foundation in 2017. How are the Vikings improving the lives of children through the foundation’s work? How do you think companies should address their corporate responsibilities to make communities better for people, especially those facing financial challenges?
Answer It is very important that every human being, regardless of race, color, gender, financial status, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs, should honestly believe that they can reach their goals, be empowered, and also protected when discrimination occurs. Although not easy, I challenge everyone to view the tough issues we face in society with a positive and energetic spirit and focus on making the world a better place on a daily basis.
Under the leadership of the Wilf family, the Minnesota Vikings have made it a priority to create positive change for children within the Twin Cities and across every community within the boundaries of Minnesota. We seek each and every day to empower our youth through initiatives involving health, education, physical activity, and overall positive energy. The success of our children will dictate the future success of our world.
Both companies and individuals who have been blessed financially have a fiduciary responsibility to create better and stronger communities by using time, energy, and financial resources for individuals who are facing financial challenges.
Jim and Carmen Campbell
Jim Campbell is the former CEO of Wells Fargo Minnesota. Both Campbells are longtime community volunteers.
“Each commitment states their sense of responsibility and what it means to be socially accountable to all of their stakeholders, including current and future employees, consumers, and our communities.”
Question The two of you have been involved in philanthropy for decades. How have you seen philanthropy change over the years and what lessons would you share with young entrepreneurs who are just beginning to give back to their communities?
Answer Over the years of working to make our community a better place to live and work, we are pleased that corporate responsibility has continued to develop as each corporation has continued to define corporate responsibility for their unique business. Each commitment states their sense of responsibility and what it means to be socially accountable to all of their stakeholders, including current and future employees, consumers, and our communities.
We are proud that Minnesota businesses have taken the lead nationally in the development of their plans. These commitments are reflected in Minnesota’s high quality of life. Having said that, however, there is so much more that must be done.
We have good feelings about the next generation as they are involved by serving on boards of nonprofit organizations, working to raise money for worthy causes, and assuming leadership roles.
Early in our lives, we had time but not much money. Our involvement early in our careers in various organizations helped develop our skills and provided the necessary learning experiences that allowed us to step into leadership roles when it was our time. We recommend that the next generation get involved in something that interests them. We advise: Give of your time and talents; set an example for others of giving back.
Kate Kelly is president of PNC Bank in Minnesota and chair of the ServeMinnesota Commission, a nonprofit, nonpartisan association that works on pressing community needs. America’s Service Commissions named her 2018 Outstanding Commissioner for her work with the group since 2007.
“It’s one thing to write a check; it’s another thing to actually write a check and get involved by donating your time. It’s important to see and experience what’s behind the financial horsepower.”
Question Why is community service important to you and how does it influence the way you lead the bank?
Answer Improving early childhood education is a great passion of mine. I’ve been on ServeMinnesota Commission’s board of directors since 2007 and have devoted countless hours a week to its cause. The fact that PNC employees see it as their passion has made it so rewarding to work here. We’re doing whatever we can to create an environment where learning is taking place.
Equally important as how we work with and support our customers is a focus on how we care for the communities where we live, work, and play. PNC builds strategic relationships with community-based nonprofits that promote growth and cultural enrichment through economic development initiatives, as well as initiatives that enhance educational opportunities for young children.
It’s one thing to write a check; it’s another thing to actually write a check and get involved by donating your time. It’s important to see and experience what’s behind the financial horsepower. In other words, it actually resonates when you get involved versus just seeing a check written from a distance. At PNC, we’ve always understood the connection between prosperous communities and our success. That is why PNC and its employees invest time, energy, and resources to support efforts that improve quality of life and bring economic and cultural vibrancy to the communities in which we operate.
PNC gives its employees up to 40 hours a year of paid time off to volunteer in early childhood programs. The hours can only be used to participate in activities related to PNC’s Grow Up Great initiative, which focuses on improving early childhood education. Because we’ve had this focused approach, we’ve seen a lot more success in being able to move the needle.
Earlier this year, ServeMinnesota received a $580,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to support early numeracy, math, and reading skills proficiency for pre-kindergarten students. The grant was the largest the PNC Foundation has made in Minnesota and was also the largest recorded investment in early numeracy from a private funder.
David Reiling is CEO of St. Paul-based Sunrise Banks. Under his leadership, Sunrise became Minnesota’s first bank certified as a community development financial institution, a legal benefit corporation, and a member of the Global Alliance of Banking on Values.
“At the end of the day, if the community succeeds, we will be able to thrive along with them.”
Question Would Sunrise Banks be as successful in the urban core of Minneapolis and St. Paul were it not a Certified B Corp? What is the advantage of running a bank as a mission-driven business?
Answer Sunrise isn’t your average bank; we are a social enterprise first. That’s been our focus since the beginning. We strive to be the most innovative bank empowering financial wellness. From our start, we have been focused on partnering with the neighborhoods and communities we serve to provide products and services to help them succeed. At the end of the day, if the community succeeds, we will be able to thrive along with them.
Being named Best for the World, a distinction given by B Lab (a nonprofit dedicated to solving social and environmental problems through business) to the top 10 percent of all B corporations, for the sixth consecutive year sends a clear message to consumers and business partners around the world that we are serious about our mission. It isn’t just a quote on the wall or in a handbook, it’s baked into our DNA. It’s reflected in our products, services, and employees. That is what brings people to our team but also what keeps people here—the belief that if we work to empower our partners and customers, we can not only succeed, we can make a positive impact as well.
More and more, having a social mission isn’t just an extra, it’s becoming an expectation. And as consumers and businesses continually look for companies that are concerned about social good, Sunrise rises to the top being known as a trusted partner/bank. We have found the key in linking our success and mission together, so that the more we focus on our mission, the better we do and the more we can grow.
Bill and Penny George
Bill George is a senior fellow at Harvard Business School and former chair and CEO of Medtronic. Penny George is chair of the George Family Foundation.
“We believe business leaders and their families have a special obligation to give back to their communities.”
Question You were very successful in business and used some of your wealth to found the George Family Foundation. Why is it important for business leaders to be involved in philanthropy? Your foundation’s funding priorities include integrative health and healing and authentic leadership. Please share some of the impact your foundation has had in these areas.
Answer We believe business leaders and their families have a special obligation to give back to their communities. Penny and I have been blessed with many societal benefits that we recognize are not equally distributed, education and health care among them. Penny and I feel called to make a positive difference and to encourage others to do the same.
We established George Family Foundation in 1994. The foundation’s mission is to foster wholeness in body, mind, spirit, and community by developing authentic leaders and supporting transformative programs serving the common good. We believe in the spiritual reciprocity that exists between donors and those doing the work on the ground.
Over our 20 years of work to foster greater health and well-being, we helped establish the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at Allina Health, the George Wellbeing Center at Greater Twin Cities YMCA, and the Catalyst Initiative (now with the Minneapolis Foundation). We are also longtime supporters of the Center for Health and Healing at the University of Minnesota.
The idea that clinical care should treat the whole person rather than just their disease and that people should be supported to be the principal agent of their own health are concepts that have gradually gained traction over the past 20 years. We are pleased to have played a part in that shift.
We support many educational fellowships at Harvard, Georgia Tech, World Economic Forum, and other institutions and have recently created a True North leadership program at 1440 Multiversity in California and a women’s leadership program at Duke University.
This content was originally published on Twin Cities Business on 12/24/18.