Who: Bob Morgan, chief executive and co-founder.
Company: MorganFranklin, a professional service firm based in McLean.
Charitable highlights: Partners with nonprofits such as Junior Achievement, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and American Heart Association. Flagship charity event is its golf tournament, which has raised $410,000 in six years for Wounded Warriors.
When did you incorporate philanthropy in the company?
It started when the three of us created the company in 1999. Ron [Morgan, his brother] and I grew up in a rural farming community. Rob Franklin grew up in a union carpenter family. When we created the company, wrote our vision and wanted to be internationally recognized as the one of the greatest places to work, part of that recipe for success was getting involved in the community.
Many startups wait until they’re established to begin philanthropy.
We were very fortunate as a startup. We were doing quite well. We were growing 100 percent a year and making money. Great companies aren’t necessarily about profit and losses. They’re about making money but also having a great reputation in the community.
What are the areas of focus?
The efforts are around entrepreneurship and education and healthcare.
How did you determine that focus?
I’m a cancer survivor and heart disease has always had a big impact on our family as well as Rob’s. Also, we’re entrepreneurs and education has had a big impact. But the light bulb went off when I was at a Penn State meeting and they were talking about the Gates Foundation and how Bill Gates had to put on paper the things he would accept requests from. I came back and said we needed to do the same thing.
How has the philanthropy evolved over the years?
Our original efforts were all geared around the American Heart Association and cancer associations. As we started to ingrain it in the culture of the business through our orientation programs, it really caught hold. As the company grew, our corporate social responsibility program got out of control a little bit. I think one year we helped support 60 different charities. So in 2007, we made the strategic decision to hire someone from the nonprofit world to establish our corporate social responsibility program and help define our efforts.
What other challenges prompted you to hone in your focus?
The randomness of the requests. We were promoting a culture of philanthropy and we started getting some off-the-wall requests that didn’t align with the culture or philosophy. People would question why we wouldn’t just write them a $500 check. And so we realized expectations were wrong. We needed someone to manage that.
What do you look for in a nonprofit partner?
We start with the areas of focus then it’s reputation. Do they have a broad group of programs that our employees can get involved in? Some only have a gala or only a golf tournament. The ones we partner with have a broad array of programs that can get a different subset of our employee base involved.
— Interview with Vanessa Small