Creating Social Value

The imperative to drive business value has been matched by one to drive social value. See how the channel has given back to local and global community initiatives in 2013.

Channel Partners

November 8, 2013

5 Min Read
Creating Social Value

Through the economic ups and downs, the channel continues to give back, contributing time and money into local  and increasingly global  community initiatives. These efforts have expanded from one-off to programmatic with a continuing commitment to make a better world. This social responsibility shows up in various ways, systematic changes in their own processes to support environmental sustainability, investments in social ventures designed to educate or enable others to be self reliant and contributions to health research programs geared to life-threatening  diseases. The imperative to drive business value has been matched by one to drive social value. In the end, they end up doing both.

Here are some snapshots of just of few of the channel’s social and philanthropic efforts in 2013:

Reach Out and U-TOUCH

Larry Kesslin, president of channel consulting firm 4-Profit LLC, serves as a board member of U-TOUCH (, which runs five digital centers in the rural villages of northern Uganda, a country ravaged by poverty and civil war. Kesslin helps craft the business model for sustainability, establishes new partnerships and provides mentorship. Through its digital centers, U-TOUCH trains African citizens on digital literacy and life skills, including goal setting, health education, communication and conflict resolution. In addition, U-TOUCH opens the digital centers as for-charge Internet cafés for locals and tourists, using revenue to pay for operations and scholarships.

New Horizons

Bill Power recently decided to cut back on his duties as CEO of the Agent Alliance consortium to also take a CEO role for Horizon Initiative (, an organization co-founded by Daryl Heller, CEO of PremierCom, to build micro communities to help people in Kenya develop sustainable lives. Each community is anchored by a group home for orphaned children, but also includes a farm, poultry and livestock units, academic and trade schools, annual medical clinics and on-site micro-businesses. So far one community is up and running and ground has broken on a second, Power reports.

Positive Energy

Renodis is doing its part for the environment by installing power outlets for employees to charge their electric vehicles. The St. Paul, Minn.-based master agency said one of its employees now can make the 60-mile round-trip commute all on electric power, rather than having to rely on gas as a back up, thanks to the outlets. Providing this benefit is a great way to align our culture with an ongoing commitment to efficiency and eco-friendly practices,” said Praba Manivasager, COO of Renodis.

Dancing for Donations

Master agency Telecom Brokerage Inc. (TBI) in 2013 launched its TBI Cares philanthropy program to support its local Chicago community and enrich the lives of TBI staff. The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is chief among TBI’s pet projects. TBI staff members took part  in the CHICAGO Dance Marathon, raising more than $1,500 for the hospital by selling baked goods and dance sponsorships. Sponsored dancers earned those donations by staying on their feet for 13.1 hours for the benefit of the young patients.

Aquatic Outreach

New York-based GLOBALINX gave education a boost earlier this year with the donation of video phones and accompanying network services to the non-profit Vancouver Aquarium in British Columbia. GLOBALINX’s ongoing gift of video calling supports real-time educational videos in addition to the aquarium’s beefing up its Aquavan service, a mobile educational laboratory that targets schools throughout British Columbia.

‘Lazy’ Volunteers

The Lazy Volunteer ( held its sixth annual Toss for Tots in October, benefiting Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. The Lazy Volunteer was founded in 2008 by Shane McNamara, then of CDW and now of XO; Katie Else of CDW; Ian Kieninger of Avant Communications; DJ Fioretti of X4 Solutions; and Keith Tomlin who was then with XO and now works for Windstream. The group has raised more than $85,000 for the Childrens Memorial Hospital in Chicago. This year’s supporting sponsors included Windstream, X4 Solutions, IntelePeer, MegaPath, XO Communications and MASERGY.

The Female Factor

The IT industry association CompTIA ( runs a mentoring initiative, Advancing Women in IT (AWIT), that donated money to three deserving organizations that support the AWIT mission to promote IT careers for women and girls: Grace after Fire, Girls Inc. and Tech Trek. AWIT also is active in legislation involving women and careers, among other initiatives surrounding education, certification and philanthropy.

Secret Santas

Master agency ADVODA Communications teams up every year with the U.S. Marine Corps to support Toys for Tots ( This year marks the seventh event. Colorado-based ADVODA gets support from multiple vendors, and then asks staff and other people to go shopping for the toys on local kids’ lists. Then there’s a party where the Marines choose the top three teams. Last year, the Marines had fallen 30,000 toys short of requests received, so ADVODA and some of its vendor partners stepped in to double the number of toys collected compared to 2011.

Fancy Footwork

Chris Palermo, founder, president and CEO of Global Communication Networks Inc., gets into fundraising body and soul, competing in endurance races on land or sea for the benefit of a favored charity. This year he took to the dance floor. Palermo donned a Phantom of the Opera costume to compete in the Boca Ballroom Battle, a spinoff of “Dancing With the Stars” held in Florida. On Aug. 16, after months and countless hours of rehearsal and an hour in the make-up chair, Palermo and partner Sayra Vazquez performed in front of more than 750 people, raising more than $38,000 for the George Snow Scholarship Fund.

Winning the Human Race

The Intelisys Green Team built on its 2012 philanthropic momentum by helping the Children’s Village of Sonoma County this past July. Some Intelisys employees walked the Human Race to raise more than $3,000 for the organization. The Intelisys Green Team also participates in Toys for Tots and takes on environmentally friendly projects such as garden clean-up.

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