We conducted an interview on Huffington Post with Bobbi Silten, President of Gap Foundation and Senior Vice President, Global Responsibility for Gap Inc. For the beginning of the interview click here – it continues below:
What does it take to get CEOs to see the business value of philanthropy?
Part of it is showing them the multiple levels of value it creates, and I don’t think that there is just one door that you open that appeals to everyone. Some people are more wired to be much more community-minded. I’m a big believer in creating a sustainable cycle, and in order to do that, you have to think about all the stakeholders that are involved in your community investment and what they are getting out of it.
Between Reimagining Service and The White House , you are doing a lot of coalition work. Why have you taken this approach to social change?
Coalition work is so important because it fosters diverse thinking brought to the table. It needs to have its little collisions before it rests in a place where the most important things have surfaced, and it’s not just a diluted or a lowest common denominator. With Reimagining Service, the different pieces that have been brought to the table have created a more compelling solution, and it’s not a solution where you have to do every piece and part in order for it to work.
Why did you decide to take part in Reimagining Service?
There was an a-ha moment of, ‘Whoa, there’s going to be a lot of people volunteering, and are we ready? And are these good intentions going to turn into impact that means something of value to the community?’ All of us who are involved in Reimagining Service were in violent agreement that there was a need to address this opportunity.
When I started Taproot and started working in the volunteering and service fields, I was pretty shocked by the amount of territoriality and politics that were involved in this field.
I think that was a reaction to change. The things that Taproot has done in the 10 years you’ve been doing this work has been game-changing. I think change is scary. But, when you look at civilizations, it’s those that change and embrace the change, as scary as it can be sometimes, that ultimately succeed. As Don Fisher (co-founder of Gap Inc.) said, “Change or Fail.”