Franchisee Leads Breakout Session on Disaster Response at U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundations, 2013 Corporate Responsibility Conference

This week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation hosted its Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) 2013 Corporate Responsibility Conference, effectively themed The Network Effect: How Business Drives Progress. It was an opportunity for businesses and leaders of corporate responsibility to convene around a variety of issues including energy and water use, woman’s economic empowerment, nutrition, and disaster resiliency.

Mitch Cohen, Franchisee, Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin-Robbins, and April Schrenker, Manager, The Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin Robbins Community Foundation, participated in the Tapping Into Community During Disaster Response, Breakout Session. Here, they led a discussion on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and how Dunkin’ Brands’ Community Foundation has grown and operated since its launch after Hurricane Katrina. The Community Foundation provided disaster recovery efforts and donations to the affected victims and areas impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Seven years later, The Community Foundation has evolved into a grassroots campaign with a focus on mobilizing disaster response efforts through Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin-Robbins’ community based franchise locations nationwide.

Best practices and constructive ideas were shared among business owners, and spokesmen and women from relief agencies like American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), aligning with the central point of the session, “One of the best sources of information on how to help disaster impacted community is by having employees on the ground. Whether it is a franchise owner or store manager, businesses can make smarter decisions and determine how best to help by leveraging their on-the-ground network.”

Cohen, franchise owner and operator of 13 Dunkin’ locations, is also Co-Chair of the Community Foundation, which has built a framework that allows the Dunkin’ Brands family to give back to those who help them every day in their communities. When speaking of the Foundation’s recent efforts after Hurricane Sandy, Cohen described how the Foundation likes to base decisions, not just on the ‘here and now’, but on effective response and recovery efforts that, “make a difference six, eight, and twelve months down the road.”

“Establish a mission with whom you’re giving to, and what for. Set expectations and guiding pillars that allow you to define certain criteria and expectations” added Cohen, when speaking of who to give to and for what reasons. The Foundation partners with national nonprofit organizations, in addition to regional and local level franchisees to support three critical issue areas, children’s health, hunger and safety. Since 2006, the Foundation has donated more than $4.4 million to organizations serving their neighborhoods.

Click here to view the 2013 Corporate Responsibility Conference online agenda.