A Message from Our CEO:
Life is a never-ending series of challenges—large and small, physical, intellectual, emotional, and even spiritual. But it is how we respond to those challenges that defines us—as a person, as a people, as a community, as a nation, and as members of the human race.
As Team Verb, we have faced many, and at times, seemingly insurmountable challenges. Our response has always been to confront our challenges head on and together. And together, we have always found a way to overcome them and to prevail.
Today we face a new challenge. And how we respond to it, alone and together, will not only define us, but will also serve to inspire action in others that will define them.
The challenge we face today is to find the most effective way to confront racism in our society, in our communities, and in ourselves. This is not a black problem–this is an us problem. All of us. People of every color.
Why do we wait for the effects of racism to manifest itself in heinous acts of hatred before we respond?
Our failure as a society to find and implement effective, modern responses to the challenges of racism that we continue to face has consequences, and these consequences have names -- Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and now George Floyd, among countless others.
Standing by and waiting for the next consequence of our inaction to manifest is not a solution. Violence and destruction–which only beget violence and destruction—are not solutions.
Each of us has an idea, together we have ideas, and ideas are the foundation upon which solutions are built. Let us create and sponsor an online forum, the purpose of which is to encourage the sharing of solution-oriented ideas. Allow those ideas to be ranked and rated by those who visit the forum. Let’s crowd source solutions–real solutions that can be implemented today.
Our company’s slogan is “inspire action.” Let’s redefine that phrase to first inspire action within ourselves and among one another, creating this forum so we may inspire action among all people to effect the change that until now has eluded us. We can do this. Together, we can do this.
Social Responsibility in the Workplace
Lately, you’ve probably noticed that we’re seeing more corporate correspondence than ever. Whether it’s your favorite shoe store communicating the steps they’ve taken to protect employees and customers from the spread of COVID-19 or a local restaurant releasing a statement that condemns racial injustices, it’s become very common for companies to reach out to their audiences to specify their stances on social issues.
Instilling a culture of social responsibility isn’t a new idea. The phrase ESG Reporting was coined in 2005 to refer to how companies adhere to modern environmental, social and governance standards. According to the Harvard Business Review, “’Environmental’ disclosures include greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, waste disposal, and more. ‘Social’ disclosures include diversity, labor relations, product safety, employee health and safety, community development, and more.” ESG scores provide valuable information about companies for their customers, investors and communities, and paying attention to them is a great way to establish trust and loyalty while becoming good global citizens.
The Ripple Effect
However, while corporate responsibility itself isn’t novel, social media and evolving technology have made it easier than ever for companies to provide unified statements on social issues, to create worthwhile exchanges about beneficial social programs, and to see what other companies are doing to make a difference. Several large organizations have led the charge by implementing recycling efforts, reducing carbon footprints, organizing volunteer efforts, spreading the word about important human rights issues and more.
This is hugely important, as business hold an expansive number of resources that can be leveraged to create a lasting positive impact on the world. And in doing that, they can inspire other companies to take their own steps in making the world a better place.
For example, according to VolunteerMatch, “In January, Microsoft announced plans to address their hometown’s housing crisis by investing up to $500 million in middle- and low-income housing programs. Other companies are following suit. Through Partnership for the Bay’s Future, Facebook, Kaiser Permanente and the Ford Foundation, among other philanthropists, pledged $500 million to address the rising cost of housing in the Bay Area, which is in part attributed to the tech industry’s presence and expansion in the region.”
It’s clear never been easier or more important for companies to pivot their strategies and do better—for the sake of humanity and the world.
Creating a Forum for Change
At Verb, we’re committed to brainstorming effective ideas and acting on them to create a better future. As Rory said, we’re taking this opportunity to inspire action among ourselves and others, starting with the creation of an interactive online and in-person resource center. What exactly does that mean? In addition to providing vital educational resources that promote solutions to social and environmental challenges, this forum will enable users to contribute by communicating their own ideas and solutions.
Each month, we’ll focus on a different issue, curating videos, book lists, as well as links to petitions, vetted foundations and more, with the intention to spark a robust online conversation. Additionally, we’ll work with community leaders to provide access to grassroots education, in-person round table discussions, and well-researched initiatives with the potential to enact real change.
Introducing: Verb for Humanity
Mission: To inspire community action.
Vision: To validate the existence and experience of every human and make space for them at the table. To listen and grow, even when the things we hear are uncomfortable. To change the trajectory of social attitudes, conversations and actions by providing education, supporting outreach initiatives and spreading kindness.
Initial Action Items:
- Form an internal committee of employees dedicated to supporting our mission and vision.
- Form an external support panel of diverse, informed individuals that will guide our efforts and provide necessary oversight. These individuals will be compensated for their time and services.
- Restructure the corporate book club’s reading list, making sure that at least one book per quarter is written by a POC.
- Recognize the power of our dollars and taking mindful steps to hire small businesses that align with our values.
- Create a moderated, interactive forum where we can discuss ideas, resources and education on a variety of relevant topics. The site will also include:
- A place to raise awareness about local elections and advocate for participation in them.
- A calendar of community events that employees can participate in.
- Lists of helpful resources, including books, articles and movies
- Opportunities to amplify minority voices and make sure they are heard.
If you’re interested in participating or partnering with us to create a similar platform for your own organization, stay tuned—we’ll be releasing more details soon.
Our hope is that together, we can use this forum to crowdsource real solutions that can be implemented today and always.
Want to learn more about Verb and what we’re doing to inspire action? Reach out today!