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Cornerstone OnDemand’s mission is to empower people, businesses and communities.  We do this most visibly through our talent management software and services and the work of the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation.

Closer to home, however, we’ve developed an innovative program we call the Corporate Sponsorship Program (CSP), aimed at directly supporting community non-profits and programs that are important to our employees.  In fact, our employees are the ones selecting the non-profits to which Cornerstone awards grants.

Listening to our Employees

The development of Corporate Sponsorship Program is great example of how everyone benefits when employers actually stop to listen to their employees. In this time when everyone in HR is talking nonstop about employee engagement, listening turns out to be an old-fashioned tool for engagement that really works.

In this case, the entire idea behind the CSP came from a single Cornerstone employee, Michael Stevens (currently working in his day job as a CSOD Mid-Market Implementation Consultant).  Michael came to Cornerstone already personally interested in the work of non-profits – he had worked for a few in the past and, once he joined CSOD, he continued to support his favorite non-profit in his spare time.

Michael saw an opportunity to develop an innovative and unique corporate program to engage Cornerstone employees by using company funds to allocate grants to specific community non-profits – particularly those organizations that matter most to CSOD employees.  So Michael worked with CSOD leadership to formalize the CSP, including processes around applications, eligibility criteria, grant-making criteria and more.

“While other companies often support non-profits informally, what we’ve put in place here at Cornerstone is certainly innovative and possibly unique,” Michael offers.  “With the CSP, we have a formal program for listening to employees and making grants based on their personal involvement with non-profits. The focus here is on our employees.”

Making a Direct Impact

The CSP takes applications on a quarterly basis from Cornerstone employees. Anyone who has a personal interest in or involvement with a non-profit and wants to ask CSOD to make a grant to support their activities can submit an application.

“We’ve seen a very enthusiastic response from Cornerstone employees,” says Michael. “Some applications have come from people with decade-long personal involvement with non-profits while other employees actively serve on the boards for some of the proposed grant recipients. But any deserving non-profit is eligible -- the CSP is designed to reward employees for being involved in any way.”

Applications are reviewed by the Community Empowerment Committee. In only the first two quarters in existence, the committee has reviewed dozens of applications. The committee members represent a broad cross-section of Cornerstone, drawing members from all the different departments in the company – but all share a common interest in community service and philanthropic giving.

The goal here is to increase impact for the selected organization.  We want to see smaller, local non-profits use our grants to further their impact in the communities they serve.

Part of Cornerstone’s Long-Standing Commitment to Empowering Communities

Separately, the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation runs a set of programs to support non-profits and the HR community on a global basis. The Foundation has a very specific mission to provide non-profit and other charitable institutions with the tools and assistance needed to maximize their effectiveness. You can learn more about the activities of the Foundation by checking out this video.

The Corporate Sponsorship Program, on the other hand, is a specific Cornerstone initiative to support community non-profits that are near and dear to our employees. It’s a way to engage employees and to support them and the interests they might have outside the four walls of the office.

So far the CSP is a great success, attracting applications from Cornerstone employees who are interested in supporting a wide variety of non-profit missions.  Here is only a partial list of organizations that have received grants to boost their impact in the communities they serve (and it’s just the beginning!):

Photo: Creative Commons