Focus on Your Local Community

With Thanksgiving less than a week away I’m thinking about community, the community that your nonprofit serves, and also the community within your organization.

At Applied Materials we were pioneers in recognizing the importance of companies paying attention to the communities in which they operate. We always kept a local focus and made sure we acknowledged our community in the shareholder letter in our annual report.

We contributed one percent of our pretax profits to community affairs, but established a constant level of funding by that department. In good times, we put amounts above that funding level in a foundation. That meant the foundation could maintain a consistent level of giving to our communities even when we experienced short-term financial pressures (and odds were the community was, too, so our support was even more important).

An organization cannot thrive in a community that is not itself thriving. Engaging with local communities and their governments is not a distraction or a luxury. It gives a leader a better sense of the big picture, protects the interests and welfare of employees, and allows for more intelligent and practical advocacy.

With my best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving,
Jim Morgan
  • Does your organization participate actively within your local community?
  • What opportunities exist for engaging more fully within your community?
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