Student Profile: Corporate Giving
Abby Goward '08
Executive committee, Net Impact Club
President, Yale SOM Student Government
Before I came to SOM, I worked for Habitat for Humanity International. My biggest project was to plan a nationwide building event where we constructed 400 houses from start to finish in a week. I had to get local chapters on board, solicit donations of money and materials, and handle the marketing. It was really fun, but I also learned a lot. I worked with a lot of corporations doing fundraising for the project and I found a lot of synergies between their bottom line and what we were doing. It made me wonder what it would be like to be on the other side, working for a for-profit company and seeking out relationships with nonprofits that could help them have a greater impact.
I decided to get an MBA to obtain the analytical and tactical skills necessary to form these types of strategic partnerships. SOM was the perfect fit as it sits at the intersection of what I do, which is to help corporations be successful while making a positive impact on society. I think corporate social responsibility should be woven into every aspect of a company and I see myself promoting socially responsible behavior regardless of what department I work in. Corporations have such great resources that can be used to solve real problems in our society.
This past summer I had an internship in the corporate philanthropy department at Bank of America. I had two projects: develop a marketing plan to spread the word about the $200 million that Bank of America gives to charity each year, and develop a method to measure the impact of the companyís giving. Measuring social impact has become very important in corporate giving over the last several years. Corporations donít want to just give money to charity; they want to make sure the money is being used effectively.
I have tried to be pretty involved here at SOM. Iím on the executive committee of Net Impact, which is a national organization that stresses using business to improve the world. Its mission is very similar to SOMís, which is one reason our chapter is among the largest and most active in the country. Iím also the president of the student government. I was a student body representative my first year and decided to run for president because I love being here so much and want to do whatever I can to make it even better. As president, Iím working with the CDO to help bring even more companies to campus that cover the broad array of interests of the student body.
Being president is particularly great because so much of the student body is involved in the school. I think the schoolís biggest asset is the students. We all have such a wealth of experience and knowledge and connections. In some ways, I feel like Iíve learned as much from my fellow students as my professors ó and thatís saying a lot.
Interviewed on September 18, 2007.