Learn from your corporate social responsibility peers

Dear FFTC,

I have recently begun a new job overseeing a start-up’s Corporate Social Responsibility department. In my previous role, I focused on community grantmaking and did not manage volunteerism or other community affairs activities. Do you have any suggestions for how I can broaden my knowledge?  – Ready to Learn

Corporate social responsibility and community affairs professionals manage a wide range of initiatives, such as employee volunteerism, programs that ensure diversity in the workplace and grantmaking to support nonprofits. And while charitably minded companies have their own unique values and priorities, all have a common goal to give back to the communities where they live, work and do business.

Doing good work in your community also makes good business sense. Many customers and employees prefer to do business with and work for socially conscious companies.

So how do you stay informed on the best ways to empower your employees and maximize your company’s philanthropic impact?

One essential step is networking with your community affairs peers. Being part of a peer network provides many advantages. Understanding what others in your field are doing, sharing information about best practices, and having a space to candidly discuss challenges and opportunities can provide valuable insights.

Your Local Source of Connection

Charlotte Community Affairs Professionals, managed by Foundation For The Carolinas, offers exactly this type of peer network.

CCAP began in 2007 to create an affinity group specifically for community affairs professionals in Charlotte. The goal was to provide a forum for intentional discussions about creating impact through philanthropy.

Nearly 15 years later, CCAP’s work is more relevant than ever. It has expanded to provide even more resources to its membership, such as presentations on national trends by industry experts and discussions with public-sector officials about local issues and initiatives.

Convening and Empowering

Foundation For The Carolinas convenes CCAP, bringing members together for regular meetings and facilitating collaboration among the group’s members. FFTC’s knowledge of local philanthropic opportunities and experience managing corporate funds makes this role a natural fit.

CCAP Conversations, a monthly virtual gathering of members, allow the group to share ideas, consider collaborations and learn about new nonprofits and community initiatives. For example, as the racial and social equity movement sparked responses from organizations across the country, a three-part CCAP series explored what local companies are doing to elevate diversity, equity and inclusion work. The series included public-sector guest speakers on community-led DEI initiatives.

Additionally, CCAP members have collaborated on community initiatives, such as outfitting a new 66-room shelter for local nonprofit Roof Above, which serves those experiencing homelessness. A subset of CCAP members — including the Charlotte Hornets Foundation, TIAA, Ally Financial, Brighthouse Financial, Charlotte Knights, Publix Super Markets and Truliant Credit Union — joined forces to provide furnishings for the new shelter site.

CCAP Quarterly Meetings provide an opportunity for workshops and presentations by experts and thought leaders in the corporate social responsibility sector. This past year, members benefited from presentations by experts on such topics as strategic charitable purpose and CSR technology, as well as community updates from local government representatives.

How to Get Involved
If you want to expand the impact of your company’s community engagement and philanthropy, you can benefit from a diverse network of peers, as well as access to valuable information from local and national experts. By engaging with others who have long-established programs – as well as those just getting started – you gain insights to make informed decisions and develop the right strategy for your company.

To learn how your company can join Charlotte Community Affairs Professionals, email or visit

Deviré Robinson, J.D., is vice president, philanthropic advancement at Foundation For The Carolinas. He assists nonprofits and corporations through a variety of philanthropic services, helping them focus on their charitable missions and make a greater impact in the communities they serve.