Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Before CSR, There Was The Trust Bank

Before I became a lawyer, I had the privilege of working with a number of great people at a public relations firm in Los Angeles. That firm was founded by Al Golin, who passed away last week, and by all accounts, he will be missed. Mr. Golin was the PR person behind McDonald's, and it was a very symbiotic relationship.

I did not meet Mr. Golin, personally, but his vision was definitely part of the firm culture. Early on, his vision of good business was on display. As the New York Times reported:

Before corporate social responsibility and cause-related marketing became fashionable, Mr. Golin was instrumental in creating what he called a trust bank. He encouraged the McDonald’s Corporation to sponsor Ronald McDonald Houses for children with life-threatening illnesses, an All-American High School Marching Band, an All-American High School Basketball Game and the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon — all to build good will that could be drawn upon when the company needed public support.

I can't say Mr. Golin is the reason I believe firms can be good corporate citizens without laws requiring them to do so, but I frankly like the idea that firms can compete to be recognized as such. The baseline should be set by law, but the rest is up for the market to determine. Mr. Golin suggested companies should choose to set the bar high. I agree. 

He left a great firm behind, with a lot of good people who certainly follow his advice. May he Rest In Peace. 

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/business_law/2017/04/before-csr-there-was-the-trust-bank.html

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