Recognizing the Best in Business—Meet This Year's Citizens Awards Winners


Announcing this year's 2018 Citizens Awards winners across eight categories.

Last night, the U.S. Chamber Foundation hosted their 19th annual Citizens Awards. All 24 business finalists joined their peers and nonprofit partners to celebrate the outstanding work they do in communities around the world.

“These award recipients, and all of our finalists, exemplify the ways businesses are a powerful force for good,” said Marc DeCourcey, senior vice president for the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center. “It is an honor to recognize these businesses who have made such significant, positive contributions to our society and strive to make their communities and the world a better place.”

We are proud to honor the 2018 winners in each of the eight categories, which are all extraordinary leaders of corporate citizenship. Read on for more about the winner in each category.

Best Corporate Steward – Large Business: Hilton

Hilton recently launched its 2030 Global Goals aimed to double its investment in social impact and cut its environmental footprint in half. Hilton is now the first major hotel company to institute science-based targets to reduce carbon emissions and send zero soap to landfill, diverting more than 15 million pounds of waste soap to date. In addition, the company has impacted more than 900,000 young people through their Open Doors commitment, which aims to help young people achieve their full potential and close the youth unemployment gap.

Best Corporate Steward – Small and Mid-Market Business: Semper Capital Management, L.P.

Semper Capital Management, a private, veteran, and minority-owned investment management firm, focuses its philanthropic efforts on affordable housing and the transition from military to civilian life. Since partnering with Habitat for Humanity NYC, Semper has helped complete a multi-family residence in Brooklyn that enables 15 low- to moderate-income families to become first-time homeowners. In addition, Semper’s partnership with the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation will provide mentoring and a college education to 10 children from military families.

Best Commitment to Education Program: IBM

In response to the need to better prepare the workforce for middle-skill jobs, IBM developed a public-private partnership that integrates high school and community college curricula, along with workplace experiences such as mentorships, site visits, and paid internships. The Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) model gives students the ability to graduate with a no-cost associate degree in applied science and are first in line with their industry partner. Since launching in 2011, P-TECH now spans 110 schools across eight U.S. states, Australia, Morocco, and Taiwan, with more than 500 businesses participating.

Best Community Improvement Program: General Mills

General Mills has developed innovative new technology platforms and organizational networks to reduce surplus food waste to make it easier for businesses like grocery stores and restaurants to donate to charity, rather than destroy, perfectly good surpluses. Its initiatives have already empowered more than 26,000 businesses in North America and Europe with surplus food recovery capabilities and enabled 1.8 billion meals to be donated to charities.

Best Disaster Response and Community Resilience Program: GSK

GSK developed the Resilient Children/Resilient Community initiative, in partnership with the National Center for Disaster Preparedness and Save the Children, to assist populations in the wake of disasters and strengthen community resilience. The initiative developed a free, online toolbox to provide resources for communities to prepare for emergencies and improve their ability to help children quickly return to a sense of normalcy. This initiative supports more than 76,000 children in its pilot communities.

Best Economic Empowerment Program: Timberland

Timberland, in partnership with the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA), helps reforest Haiti while increasing farmland productivity and supply chain accessibility for Haitian smallholder farmers. Timberland is also aiming to sustainably source 100% of its apparel cotton by 2020. In five years, this program will plant 25,000,000 new trees and engage 34,000 Haitian smallholder farmers to produce 15,000,000 pounds of organic cotton lint annually. 

Best Environmental Stewardship Program: Ingersoll Rand

In 2014, Ingersoll Rand committed to a 35% company greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint reduction by 2020 through energy reduction, optimization of refrigerant charging, upgrading its fleet to improve gas mileage, and renewable energy. Over the past four years, Ingersoll Rand has reduced GHG emissions associated with operations by 37%—surpassing its goal two years early. With this commitment now achieved, Ingersoll Rand aims to develop a next set of goals to be an industry catalyst in addressing GHG emissions.

Best Health and Wellness Program: Abbott and the Abbott Fund

Abbott and its foundation, the Abbott Fund, are partnering to create a leading ER and emergency medicine residency program in East Africa. The ER provides best-in-class care, regardless of ability to pay, for more than 60,000 people a year. The number of deaths at the hospital has dropped by 50 percent, saving thousands of lives every year, and the program has trained more than 300 physicians, nurses and students. In addition, the ER generates a profit, which is reinvested to further strengthen hospital operations—providing a new model for financial sustainability in public health.

The Citizens Awards gala was filled with inspirational stories of service and a positive outlook for the future. We look forward to seeing the amazing work these companies continue to do, raising the bar for corporate citizenship and partnering with others to be forces for good around the world. Congratulations once again to the winners!

Stay tuned for next year’s nomination period, coming up in 2019.