Business Cares, the School’s signature philanthropy initiative, harnesses the talents and resources at UNC Kenan-Flagler to provide support for three local charities focused on children’s health: UNC Children’s Hospital pediatric cancer unit, Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill and Super Cooper’s Little Red Wagon Foundation
This relationship provides a foundation for the charities to work not only with Business Cares, but also with each other.
“The charities are able to do better things for the kids because of what we’re doing,” said Tom Cawley, director of advancement services. “With the help of this initiative these charities were able to deepen their interactions because Business Cares brought them together more frequently.”
The success of Business Cares comes from its three-tiered approach. It uses the “brain power” and the “people power” of students, faculty and staff, and the “money power,” meaning the financial support from the School and corporate sponsors. Together, these three core methods have supported the charities through financial support, consulting expertise, the College Buddies program, providing welcome bags for patients, and more. Another way the Business Cares program uses its three-tiered approach is hosting the annual Business Cares Golf Classic, set for May 4, 2018,To date, Business Cares has raised more than $81,000, and presented $10,000 to each charity in 2018.
“We celebrate any money raised as success,” says Cawley. “There’s no minimum. We fundraise, we help them and whatever we achieve is great – that’s part of the feeling of what we do at Business Cares. All three charities have limited bandwidth and they’re hungry for help. We’re grateful we’re able to provide it.”
The Business Cares program works with the pediatric cancer ward at the UNC Children’s Hospital. The hospital used the funds to provide up-to-date educational materials and send nurses to conferences to stay up-to-date on their practices. Business Cares donated six iPads to the unit to entertain children while undergoing treatments. The financial piece is crucially vital due to diminishing lack of state support and keeping the nurses up-to-date to provide the best care for the children.
In the past four years, the Business Cares has used its people power to pack over 550 welcome bags – including essential hygiene items and notes of encouragement – for new patients.
Alex Pritts (MBA ’17) launched Super Cooper’s College Buddies in 2015, which provides a unique opportunity to connect children and UNC Kenan-Flagler students, who provide meaningful moments of encouragement and cheer. This form of people power includes hosting five holiday craft events, five dinners at the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill, donating 230 books and raising more than $1,300.
Business Cares puts use to its mind power to help Super Cooper’s Little Red Wagon Foundation through the MBA non-profit consulting program. The MBA non-profit consulting program pairs full-time UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA students with non-profit organizations to give students board experiences and business challenges. A team of from the MBA non-profit consulting program was paired with the foundation to connect their expertise with the needs of the foundation.
The brain power tier of Business Care is most noteworthy in the successes at the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill. Through UNC Kenan-Flagler’s STAR Program, a student team consulted for the organization, conducting extensive research and crafting key recommendations for improvement.
At the end of their pro bono consulting practice, the STAR team announced three recommendations: increase the recommended room fee amount per day; implement a Medicaid billing program; and create crowdsourcing accounts to boost fundraising efforts. After implementing the recommendations, the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill increased its revenue 68 percent.
“I found it exciting to see this kind of dramatic change to an organization based on one semester-long consulting project,” said Meghan Gosk, a STAR faculty advisor and associate director for MBA Career & Leadership at UNC Kenan-Flagler.
In all, the STAR project represents the mission and values of Business Cares. It used the people power and the brain power the School has to offer and drove direct success results to the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill.
“What we did with Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill perfectly aligned with the goals of Business Cares,” Gosk said. “In this consulting project students used their business skills to research and make actionable recommendations to enable Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill to serve more families in need. We helped them accomplish their important mission of providing housing, meals and community, and there’s no better feeling than that.”
By Halle Frain (BA ’18)