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Why Build A Community Relations Program?. Community Relations is becoming a standard business practice in this country - approximately 90% of big companies in the U.S. are making some type of investment in community relations efforts.

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Why build a community relations program
Why Build A Community Relations Program?

  • Community Relations is becoming a standard business practice in this country - approximately 90% of big companies in the U.S. are making some type of investment in community relations efforts.

  • In addition to simply "being a good neighbor" by "doing the right thing," there are tangible business arguments for supporting and investing in a community relations program.

  • Corporate Community Relations Programs both develop community and also make good business sense.

Spectrum of involvement
Spectrum of Involvement

  • Lower Level

    • Episodic financial investment

    • Limited front-line staff involvement, no senior management involvement

    • No organizational staff support

    • No mission-related activities

  • Middle Level

    • More consistent financial investment

    • Front-line staff participates in city-wide service events and low levels of senior management involvement

    • Portion of a staff’s responsibility is to manage community involvement.

    • Few mission-related activities

  • High Level

    • Highly consistent financial investment (budgeted)

    • High level of front-line staff & senior management involvement

    • A dedicated Community Relations department with full-time staff

    • Programs strategically integrated with mission of institution

    • Advocates policy change

What are the benefits to a business
What are the Benefits to a Business?


  • Increases visibility within your market

  • Develops a stronger brand value

  • Enhances reputation as a good neighbor and corporate citizen


  • Fosters an “Esprit de Corps”: develops teamwork, raises morale, interdepartmental co-operation and company pride

  • Attracts and helps retention of high caliber employees

  • Creates opportunities for employee personal development

  • Develops knowledge and skills through experiences outside of company culture

  • Helps to position business as employer of choice

What are the benefits for the community
What are the Benefits for the Community?

  • Develops a healthier community by extending resources

  • Adds new skills and energy to problem-solving

  • Provides an additional source of volunteers

  • Builds productive links with your business network

  • Improves the quality of community services

  • Develops greater mutual trust and respect

Community and your mission
Community And Your Mission

Ensure that your rationale for community engagement is reflected in your business, vision and/or mission statements.

If it is important to your organization, then it should be part of the core mission and values of the company.

The university of chicago hospitals mission
The University of Chicago Hospitals Mission

Our mission is to provide superior health care in a compassionate manner, ever mindful of each patient’s dignity and individuality.

To accomplish our mission, we call upon the skills and expertise of all who work together to advance medical innovation, serve the health needs of the community, and further the knowledge of those dedicated to caring.

Office of community affairs mission
Office of Community Affairs: Mission

The University of Chicago Hospitals Office of Community Affairs is committed to building strong and meaningful relationships with the surrounding community and recognizes that these relationships enhance its position at the forefront of medicine.

Develop a comprehensive strategy
Develop A Comprehensive Strategy

  • Build Top-Down Support

  • Define Your Community

  • Know Your Community

  • Understand Perceptions

  • Develop Philosophy

  • Benchmark Peers & Identify Resources

  • Define Success

Build top down support
Build Top-Down Support

The level of leadership of a company’s community relations efforts is a reflection of the company’s true commitment. If the efforts are important, then they must have voice & influence through senior level staff.

  • Buy-In from Board, CEO/President, Senior Management, Leadership & Frontline Staff

  • Incorporate Community at Leadership Table

  • Integrate community message into all of the key strategic decisions of the company

  • Commit Resources to Community Relations

Define your community
Define Your Community

  • Is it where your company is located?

    • Neighborhood

    • County

    • City

    • County

  • Is it your service area?

    • Primary

    • Regional

    • National

    • Global

  • University of chicago hospitals our neighborhood
    University of Chicago Hospitals:Our Neighborhood

    UCH Neighborhood

    UCH Primary Service Area

    Know your community
    Know Your Community

    • What is the history of your community?

    • What are the geographic boundaries?

    • What are the demographics, i.e., race, socio-economic?

    • What are the issues that most greatly impact your community (health, economic development, employment, education)?

    • How does your product, service or core competencies relate to the community?

    • How are you perceived by the community? Why?

    • Who are the formal and informal leaders and institutions in your community?

    History of our community
    History of our Community

    • Chicago’s South Side became known as the capital of Black America.

      • Largest contiguous settlement of African Americans in the U.S.

      • Home to nation’s outstanding black leaders and entertainers:

        • Joe Louis, Mahalia Jackson, William Dawson (the first black U.S. Congressman)

        • The country’s most prominent black newspaper, The Chicago Defender, was established and published in this neighborhood (Bud Billiken Parade).

        • The country’s largest black church, Olivet Baptist, was located here.

    • The neighborhood was nationally known for its retail and entertainment.

      • Half dozen shopping districts including 47th and 63rd streets.

      • Home of the Regal Theater & the Savoy

        • Some of the best jazz in the country was played.

    • By the end of the 1960s, unsuccessful efforts at urban renewal left many of these neighborhoods former shadows of themselves.

      • Blacks moved out into other parts of the City.

      • Many wealthier blacks began to move out of the neighborhood in large numbers.

    Our neighborhood profile
    Our Neighborhood Profile

    • Population

      • 228,829 (constitutes about 30% of the Hospital’s PSA)

      • Declined 30% in last 20 years (like City of Chicago).

    • Race

      • Today, overwhelmingly African American (88%)

      • City’s total African American population is only 36%

    • Income

      • Our neighborhood is comprised of working class people with a median income of about $20,000.

      • However, there are meaningful percentages of households with incomes well over $50,000 a year.

    Our neighborhood profile continued
    Our Neighborhood Profile (Continued)

    • Health Insurance

      • 25% of our neighborhood is privately insured.

      • Medicare and Medicaid are the predominant forms of insurance coverage

        • 27% Medicaid

        • 11% Medicare

        • 35% Uninsured

    • Health status

      • Public health concerns that one would expect in a lower income community:

        • High rates of low birth weight babies

        • Absence of prenatal care

        • High rates of death due to heart disease, stroke

        • High rates of HIV/AIDS

    • UCH Employment

      • U of C & UCH are the largest employers on the city’s Southside, each employing over 5,000 people. (as of June 2002, 17% of UCH employees lived in our neighborhood).

    Assets pockets of relative affluence
    Assets: Pockets of Relative Affluence

    Although our neighborhood remains predominately economically poor, there are pockets of relative affluence throughout the area. This graph shows that there are meaningful percentages of households with incomes greater than $50,000 in every community area in our neighborhood. The areas with the most significant increases in income were Grand Blvd (13%), Kenwood (16%) and Washington Park (11%).

    Assets increasing housing prices
    Assets: Increasing Housing Prices

    This graph shows the increase in housing sales prices in the neighborhood. The blue bar represents sales price changes for detached, single family homes since 1994. Sales prices have increased dramatically since 1994 in Grand Boulevard and Kenwood (200%), Hyde Park (100%), South Shore and Woodlawn (50%).

    Understand perceptions
    Understand Perceptions


    • What are the Internal Perceptions of the community among employees?

    • Identify existing relationships between the company and the community…Formal? Informal? What are your people already doing?

    • Are there any fears, biases, stereotypes, barriers that employees have about the community?

    • Are there any internal dynamics or internal politics that could have a bearing on how employees perceive the community?


    • How does the community perceive you?

    • What are the perceptions based on? History? Inconsistent Involvement? Unkept Promises?

    • What are the community’s expectations of your business?

    Develop philosophy
    Develop Philosophy

    • This is a crucial step in the process

      • Philosophy will help you establish your approach

      • Form the lens through which you view the community

      • Establish guidelines that help you engage with the community

  • Important to establish basic principles that will define and guide your efforts in building strong community relationships.

  • Benchmark peers identify resources
    Benchmark Peers & Identify Resources

    • What are other companies doing? Why?

    • What resources already exist?

      • Points of Light Foundation: www.pointsoflight.org

      • Center for Corporate Citizenship: www.bcccc.net

      • Chicago Cares: www.chicagocares.org

    • Are there opportunities to leverage resources? Other funding Sources? Add to Employees current Efforts?

    Define success
    Define Success

    • What change do you envision in the community and at your company?

    • What are your baseline measures?

    • How will you evaluate your efforts?

    • How will you demonstrate the impact on the community and in your company?

    • How will you celebrate success in the community or in your company?

    Define success a uch example
    Define Success: A UCH Example

    • SMART Goals

      • Specific

      • Measurable

      • Achievable

      • Relevant

      • Time-bound

    • Goal 1: Increase the number of active volunteers to 650 (15% annual increase) by FY’07 to support the culture of service and improve the patient experience at UCH.

    • Goal 2: Engage 20% (1,000 employees) by FY’07 under the name of UCH in service to the community which helps to position UCH as an employer of choice.

    Uch community relations activities

    Day of Service & Reflection

    Pediatric Mobile Medical Unit

    Hospital Tours for Schools

    Service Learning Initiative

    Preparing For Adolescence

    Health Communities Access Program (HCAP)


    Expo For Today’s Black Woman

    Bud Billiken Day Parade

    Summer Health Fair Series

    Adopt-A-School: Tutoring

    Small Grants Initiative

    Community Fitness Program

    Community Speakers Group

    Science Fair Judging

    Community Bus Tour

    HIV/AIDS Education

    Hyde Park Academy Shadowing

    NBC 5 Health & Fitness Expo


    Community Sponsorships

    UCH Community Relations Activities

    Take the first steps get active
    Take the First Steps: Get Active

    • Add community relations programming to your agenda

      • Executive Board Meeting

      • Senior Management Meeting

      • Departmental Staff Meeting

        2. Develop a inter-departmental community relations task-force

      • Develop diverse team

      • Research employee involvement and interests

        3. Plan a service day

      • Partner with another organization

      • Gardening, bagging groceries for people with HIV/AIDS, organize donated clothing, prepare food for the homeless, build a playground, clean up the shoreline, participate in a walk-a-thon