Serving the community—it’s in our DNA

Posted by | January 15, 2014

It was a rainy, dreary day yesterday. But thanks to MANNA, many people with life-threatening illnesses didn’t need to venture into the damp cold to buy groceries. The non-profit organization cooks and delivers nutritious, medically appropriate meals to people with cancer, renal disease, HIV/AIDS and other chronic conditions.

The Safeguard team got an up close look at how hard MANNA works to cook, package and deliver three meals a day, seven days a week. Working in shifts, our employees sliced onions, poured egg into restaurant-grade baking pans–the last step in making seafood quiche, bagged fruit, scooped up beef tips, roasted potatoes, and mixed vegetables, and used wooden spoons as long as baseball bats to sauté pounds of simmering celery and onions. And we savored every minute of it, knowing that these well-balanced meals were headed to those who really need them.

As I reflected on our team joining the MANNA team in service, I was moved by just how central Safeguard’s commitment to the Community has been since our founding in 1953.

In fact, caddy corner to MANNA’s headquarters resides the Safeguard Scientifics American Red Cross building–named after our company due to the endless generosity of our founder, Warren V. “Pete” Musser, who was actively involved in the Red Cross, not to mention Boy Scouts of America and United Way, among other organizations.

Supporting our community has forever been part of our DNA. The generosity of our team members throughout the years—a generosity that caused Philadelphia Magazine to name Pete one of “Philly’s Most Generous Souls”—directly reflects the generosity of Safeguard as an organization. In 1999, for example, the Safeguard Foundation, Safeguard’s hub for philanthropy at the time, contributed roughly $1 million to more than 100 non-profit organizations on behalf of our stakeholders. Today, our team still supports and contributes to an array of community organizations, from health-minded groups, such as the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association, to the Arts & Business Council of Philadelphia, to the educational institutions of our city.

And our commitment to community includes supporting our next generation of entrepreneurs. In 2007, after we emerged from challenges following the dot-com bubble, then President and CEO, Peter J. Boni, spearheaded the founding of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) outreach in Philadelphia, in partnership with ICG, which takes the spirit of entrepreneurship into classrooms in low-income communities. I remain a co-chair of this dynamic chapter, which harnesses business principles and the entrepreneurial spirit to combat high school dropout rates in our city’s schools.

And last year amid our celebration of 60 years of innovation, Safeguard created a branded community-focused initiative through Facebook, entitled “Community Gives.” This initiative was constructed around the notion that we can collectively create a better community. Through the “Community Gives” initiative, we asked our Facebook community to vote for their favorite of 10 selected non-profit organizations in exchange for donations—one vote for one dollar. The organization with the most votes received an added bonus of $1,000–which went to Make-a-Wish of Philadelphia and Susquehanna Valley.

Our “Community Gives” program continues to thrive beyond our Facebook campaign, and now embodies the formal brand enveloping our philanthropic efforts as a company. We believe in the power of community, and our network is committed to continuing the same spirit of generosity upon which we were founded.

Our experience at MANNA is the first of many Safeguard Days of Service ahead—a tradition that demonstrates that we are as committed to providing manpower as we are financing for growth-stage healthcare and technology companies.

Innovation, after all, isn’t limited to business. Innovation can improve the quality of life for an entire community.


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