Episode 22

Episode 22: Three philanthropy questions for Rahim

Steve sits down with Rahim Ladha, Global Head of Communications and Philanthropy at BentallGreenOak, to discuss “BGO Inspire,” a new multifaceted philanthropy program that’s focused on empowering employees to make a positive difference in their communities.

Steve Peacher: Hi everybody, thanks for dialing in again. I’m Steve Peacher at SLC Management and today I’m with Rahim Ladha who is, among other things, is head of BentallGreenOak’s philanthropic efforts. Rahim thanks for taking a few minutes with me today.

Rahim Ladha: Thank you so much for having me Steve.

Steve Peacher: I wanted to talk about a new philanthropic program that BentallGreenOak has initiated, and I know it's called “BGO Inspired.” What is it and what's the story behind the name?

Rahim Ladha: Sure, so you know, being in the real estate business means you get a tangible view into how our assets are directly interacting with the communities where they reside. Steve we get to know our neighbors really well and we become part of this ecosystem of social and economic forces that quickly reveal where societies are succeeding and where they're really struggling, and you know in that environment BGO employees feel compelled to make a positive difference. And it's exactly that energy that inspires our program and the and the commitments that we make, so the desire to offer relief where there’s suffering and empowerment where changes overdue so it's really from this ethos, that the name BGO inspired was born.

Steve Peacher: So talk more broadly about the program have, what are the defining elements of the program, how's it going to work as you as you roll it out and going forward?

Rahim Ladha: Absolutely. So this program much like its name draws its inspiration from four sources. First is employee inspired which draws on the many commitments of time and financial means that employees make outside of work to help make a difference. So to empower that, BGO has a matching program for donations that employees make to their favorite registered charities. And for those employees who sit on boards of not for profits, we've created a separate fund that allows employees to each access up to $1,000 to support social initiatives that they are helping to lead. The second source of inspiration is EDI inspired, where our firm’s social justice mission for equity, diversity and inclusion is delivering financial support to organizations that are really on the frontlines of change. So BGO’s employee alliance groups, which include the Black Professionals Alliance, the Asian network BGO pride, and the Women's Leadership Council are each empowered through BGO Inspired to choose and direct funds to organizations that support victims of racism, prejudice and bigotry while also providing dollars to groups that are driving progress on these fronts to. The third source of inspiration is community where we're dispersing funds to our local offices around the world to help them forge those long-lasting relationships with local charities that bring healing to our neighborhoods in the places where they are most hurting. And, finally, the fourth source of inspiration for us is globally inspired. Where we're working with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and One Tree Planted to create these worldwide partnerships that really unite our firm in common purpose and create exciting opportunities for employee engagement.

Steve Peacher: So this is it's really a multifaceted program, because you're going to be dealing with a lot of different entities that your employees are connected to. So when you think about outcomes, you know what are the milestones, what are the outcomes that you're hoping to achieve in the future as a result of the support for all these you know in various initiatives in out in the marketplace?

Rahim Ladha: You know Steve first and foremost it's critical that BGO Inspired serves as a real reinforcement to our firm our firm wide values. You know, we’ll be working every day to ensure that our employees feel a strong sense of connectivity to our philanthropic endeavors and that it becomes a real defining experience of what it means to work for BGO. You know I also hope that the program inspires individual or team lead endeavors across the firm's where employees become curators and leaders within our program. And we're already seeing early signs of how a corporate program that draws its inspiration from different sources can become bigger than the sum of its parts. And on the last outcome will be striving for is direct employee engagement opportunities. Steve, there's so much beauty in volunteerism and there are a few things more unifying and gratifying then rolling up your sleeves alongside your colleagues for a good cause.

Steve Peacher: Well, I can, I can tell from your answers to the questions and the tone of your comments that you’re personally very enthusiastic and energized by this effort and that's great the see. So on a personal question that I like to end these with I’ll ask you this, if you personally, if you Rahim had a superpower yourself that you could tap into for the betterment of society in the world, what is that superpower that you think could be the most impactful?

Rahim Ladha: I love this question, it's a tough one, though. You're right Steve I do have a lot of enthusiasts, this is probably the best part of my job, hands down. But if I had to pick one superpower, you know this one's not going to be so flashy, but if I could wave a magic wand and instantly deliver life changing learning opportunities and high-quality education to underserved communities that would be my first move. You know I’ve seen firsthand the immediate impact and even the generational reversals of fortune that come with access to learning, and all the doors that open up for more hopeful future. So I’d say that's probably where I put my superpower, to use, and you know Steve if you gave me one more superpower, I definitely make Covid disappear.

Steve Peacher: Well, I say on your first one, I will say personally I definitely agree with that, I think, education may not be the answer to everything but I certainly think in terms of giving everybody around the world, especially the underprivileged, you know the best opportunity and the best chance to live a happy life, that if you give somebody a strong education they can usually make great use of it, and so I am completely aligned with you. Well listen, I appreciate taking a few minutes today to talk about BGO Inspired, I think it's a great program and I’m sure our listeners enjoyed hearing something about it. So thanks Rahim, and thanks everybody for listening to this episode of “Three in Five.”

Rahim Ladha: Thank you, Steve.

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