Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Nailing Corporate Social Responsibility

By Steve Villano

As the cable television industry gathers in New Orleans this week, being responsible corporate citizens is foremost on the agenda for many of the 15,000 cable industry leaders and activists. A collection of industry non-profits are galvanizing hundreds of volunteers—many visiting the city for the first time since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina—to do the hands-on work of helping to rebuild public and community structures block-by-block.

Over three days, Cable Positive staff and some 100 volunteers—with most from NBC Universal and SES Americom—will be hammering nails, hanging drywall and painting walls and ceilings for three New Orleans AIDS organizations whose facilities where hit hard by the hurricane. Those three are the New Orleans AIDS Task Force—the largest organization serving people with AIDS in the region; and Project Lazarus and Kent House—both AIDS hospices, where people with AIDS can find a loving, stable home.

The Cable Positive New Orleans volunteers will work for parts of three-full days rebuilding an essential element of the tattered social safety net for people who are HIV positive in the New Orleans community. It is a “Habitat-for-Humanity” type of direct volunteerism, which will yield tangible results—walls & ceilings installed, painted and repaired, so the lives of people with HIV or AIDS get return to some degree of normalcy.

Yet, once we all leave New Orleans next week, the problems will not. The facilities will still need more funds for extensive electrical and plumbing work; people with HIV or AIDS will need more assistance to get transportation to their clinics, money for their anti-retroviral drugs, and help in defeating the stigma attached to the disease—especially in poor communities of color.

That’s why Cable Positive long-term work is even more essential than ever before. In the past, our Tony Cox Community Fund supported the N.O. AIDS Task Force, with grants for its services, and visibility for its programs and clients. We’ve got to do even more in the future, as federal Ryan White funding has been frozen, and more under 25 year olds than ever before continue to get infected with HIV.

Our access to the power of media—cable, internet, cell phones—and the talented individuals who create, produce & distribute all forms of communications on each, has never been of greater value to our communities. Accordingly, Cable Positive’s value to the cable industry—when it comes to delivering socially responsible results in home after home, neighborhood-by-neighborhood has never been higher.

No comments: