Creating a Culture of Citizenship Community Involvement
Since 2009, Abbott has been a member of the London Benchmarking Group (LBG), the internationally recognized standard for measuring corporate community investment. We used the LBG framework to help measure the impact of the Abbott Fund Institute of Nutrition Science (AFINS) – a unique program aimed at advancing clinical nutrition practices in developing nations.
More than 87 percent of Abbott employees contributed to nonprofit and community groups in 2011, up from 83 percent the previous year.
Our Family Science program is active in eight countries, sending some of Abbott’s best scientists into elementary schools like this one in Waukegan, Illinois, not far from Abbott headquarters.
Abbott scientists lead hands-on experiments with teachers to impart basic science skills to kids and their parents at elementary schools, community centers and museums in eight countries.
Over the past four years, Abbott scientists have served as science ambassadors more than 75 programs for schools in Germany, many of them underserved in terms of science, technology and math instruction.
A typical Family Science evening might explore the workings of the human heart, something Abbott scientists know a lot about.
Or it might help students to understand simple physics. In California, students design and create a structure that can best hold a predetermined amount of popped popcorn. Which structure has more volume – a conical structure or a cylindrical one?
Students at the Jose Cordero Elementary School in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico, engage with Abbott volunteers using games and household items to learn problem-solving skills.
Family Science nights in Singapore are meant to foster a spirit of curiosity, discovery and invention among children – some of whom may be the inventors and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
The fun, hands-on activities in these programs around the world encourage students to explore science activities at home. In the U.K., Abbott volunteers work with students to solve science problems.
Of course, we also want to convey Abbott’s own passion for science and discovery because we hope that some of these children, like this one in Ireland, will grow up to be scientists, engineers and inventors.
Abbott’s first Family Science Day in Germany showed children and their parents the wonders of natural science through fun hands-on experiments. One favorite: poking a thin wooden skewer into a balloon…without popping the balloon! Other experiments revealed the secrets of light, static electricity and sound waves. Kids and parents enjoyed the day of discovery and learning – while volunteer scientists from Abbott enjoyed helping to inspire the scientists of tomorrow.
When severe hurricanes strike the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean, Abbott and our partners are ready with essential medicines, diagnostic equipment and nutrition products. We pre-position these products in clinics throughout the region prior to hurricane season.
Abbott volunteers help pack our Disaster Relief Packs at this center in Puerto Rico and at others along the U.S. Gulf Coast and in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Prior to the 2010 hurricane season, working with Direct Relief International and Feeding America, we pre-positioned more than $1.2 million worth of Abbott products throughout free clinics and food banks across the region.
In 2010, Abbott donated products valued at $1.2 million to disaster relief programs in the U.S., Central America and the Caribbean – enough to treat 34,000 people after a natural disaster.
We also provide financial support to aid in rebuilding efforts in disaster areas like Haiti and Pakistan.
Our pre-positioning work is aimed at making essential health care and nutritional products available immediately at the time of a disaster, rather than the seven to ten days typically required to transport aid into an emergency zone.
Each U.S. clinic participating in our program receives a Disaster Relief Pack, designed to provide the most critical medical products for up to 100 patients over a 72-hour treatment period and to help mitigate mass referrals to local hospitals.
Thanks to Abbott donations and our employee volunteers, our program provides our local relief partners with the flexibility they need to deploy essential relief products as soon as disaster strikes.
Thanks to a partnership with Feeding America, thousands of children from hungry families across the U.S. and Puerto Rico leave school each Friday toting backpacks filled with nutritious foods and juices for weekend family meals.
Abbott and the Abbott Fund contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants and donations of ZonePerfect nutrition bars annually. The Abbott Fund program feeds more than 145,200 children each school year.
We support the program at Abbott plant-site communities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. In addition, we partnered with Global FoodBanking Network to launch the first-ever international BackPack Program in Mexico.
Abbott employees volunteer to fill and distribute many of the backpacks every week.
The backpacks contain enough food for the weekend for a family of four.
The contents, nutritious and tasty, too, are always a pleasant surprise for the children and their families. This little boy can’t resist shaking his backpack and trying to guess what’s inside!
Abbott volunteers are committed to helping build healthier communities and to make a lasting difference in people’s lives.
In communities large and small, in developed and developing nations, and wherever we live, work and do business, Abbott strives to make a positive and lasting difference in people’s lives. We do so by creating and distributing life-enhancing products; by providing our expertise to advance health care quality and access around the world; and by providing financial support to the Abbott Fund, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation. In 2011, Abbott and the Abbott Fund contributed more than $730 million in grants, product donations, community partnerships and efforts to strengthen health care systems around the world.
In addition, Abbott employees around the world generously contribute their time, expertise, money and enthusiasm to numerous community-based initiatives. Employees in Canada, Ireland, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom and the United States currently have access to an online system enabling them to select volunteer activities that match their needs and interests, and to track their hours for local reporting purposes.
Abbott employees also continued to expand their financial giving to nonprofit and community groups in 2011, with more than 87 percent of U.S. employees contributing a record $13.9 million. Abbott’s employee participation is more than twice the rate typically seen in employee giving campaigns, according to JK Group, which administers corporate philanthropy programs at Abbott and elsewhere.
To ensure that our philanthropic activities are strategic and impactful, Abbott begins by exploring the needs of those we seek to assist, listening and asking questions until we understand their challenges and can propose workable solutions. We identify partner organizations whose skills and contributions complement Abbott strengths and expertise, and then we carefully measure the impact of our programs and share what we learn with others.
Abbott’s approach to community involvement has three components:
- Improving Access to Health Care: Many people around the world are unable to receive proper medical care due to lack of education, resources or access to a nearby medical facility. Abbott and the Abbott Fund address this challenge through programs and partnerships that expand health care access for disadvantaged populations. Our programs help train health care providers, build facilities in underserved areas and pursue a wide variety of other initiatives according to local needs.
- Science Education: Abbott works to inspire and engage students, their families and teachers in scientific exploration to help prepare the next generation of innovators. We sponsor and participate in programs that encourage young people to become proficient in science and pursue careers in science and engineering. For example, our Family Science program engages elementary school students and their families in stimulating evenings of experimentation and discussion, led by some of Abbott’s top scientists. During the past six years, we have held more than 100 Family Science nights in Brazil, China, Germany, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.
- Community Vitality: Healthy communities possess vibrant and diverse institutions that serve the public good. These institutions range from health and human welfare agencies such as food banks, homeless shelters and health clinics to museums, libraries and universities. The Abbott Fund supports creative programs that address unmet needs of local communities. When natural disasters and emergencies strike communities, the Abbott Fund responds with grants to trusted humanitarian relief partners. Grants are directed to both immediate needs and longer-term reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts.
Anticipating and Responding to Natural Disasters
When natural disasters and other emergencies strike, Abbott and the Abbott Fund respond quickly with grants and product donations to trusted humanitarian relief partners – not only to meet people’s immediate needs, but also to assist with longer-term reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts. We also work to anticipate disasters. For the past six years, for instance, Abbott has worked with Direct Relief International and Feeding America to pre-position medical and nutritional products in targeted high-risk locations in advance of hurricane season. By pre-positioning products that will be urgently needed in food banks and clinics along the coasts of the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and Central America, we ensure that the right products are in the right places before a disaster occurs.
Prior to the 2011 hurricane season, Abbott, the Abbott Fund and our partners had pre-positioned more than $1.2 million worth of donated products, which could then be delivered within two or three days of a disaster, compared with the seven to ten days that are typical of most relief programs. Each clinic and food bank participating in our program receives disaster relief modules or packs containing the most essential supplies. These packs can treat more than 34,000 people, helping to mitigate mass referrals to local hospitals.
In 2011, Abbott and the Abbott Fund also donated $3 million in response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan. Additionally, we contributed $100,000 to support our relief partners responding to the famine in the Horn of Africa, and we worked with in-country colleagues to provide immediate response to devastating floods in Cambodia, Pakistan and Thailand, as well as the earthquake in Turkey.
Employee Giving and Involvement
Giving back is an integral part of Abbott’s culture, and our employees’ generosity mirrors that of our company. Abbott employees contributed a record $13.9 million in 2011 through the Abbott Employee Giving Campaign and Matching Grant program, compared with $13.3 million the previous year. More than 87 percent of U.S. employees participated in the campaign – compared with 83 percent in 2010 – and their contributions were distributed to more than 5,700 community organizations. Abbott employee giving includes pledges raised through the company’s annual employee giving campaign, donations by employees throughout the year, and matching gifts from the Abbott Fund.
The people of Abbott have a long history of supporting our communities through volunteerism and by generously sharing their skills, scientific knowledge and enthusiasm with community-based initiatives. For example, many of our scientists volunteer their time and expertise to reach young people through our science education programs, while others assist our nonprofit partners in investigating new treatments for neglected diseases and developing new products to help relieve malnutrition.
We assess our community investments based on the impact they have on our business and on society. Abbott works with each community partner to measure and track outputs and the impact of major philanthropic initiatives, including science education, access to health care, HIV/AIDS, patient assistance and product donation programs.
Since 2009, Abbott has been a member of the London Benchmarking Group (LBG), the internationally recognized standard for measuring corporate community investment. Abbott is among the more than 300 companies worldwide using the LBG framework to measure, manage and report the value and achievements of the philanthropic contributions they make.
For example, we used the LBG framework to help measure the impact of the Abbott Fund Institute of Nutrition Science (AFINS) – a unique program aimed at advancing clinical nutrition practices in developing nations through extensive training; the integration of nutrition education into local medical school curricula; and the development of standardized nutritional guidelines.
Note: All data in the Global Citizenship section reflects activities prior to the separation of Abbott and AbbVie on January 1, 2013.