This summer, Tom Raffa was asked to talk about one of Raffa’s Community Impact projects, Companies for Causes, during a webinar presented by the organization Billion+ Change. He started with a little background on Raffa and what he sees as the driving force behind the organization.
Raffa began in 1984 when Tom left a large international consulting firm with the drive to create a different kind of company. He tried to define Raffa around a different metric other than financial. He wanted his firm to be part of the community and a good partner. “This always sounds odd for a CPA to say, but we wanted to measure our success in different ways,” he said.
In addition to building a strong practice with nonprofits as clients, Raffa has developed a reputation as a thought leader and supporter of community organizations in the Washington Metro area. (Learn more about Raffa’s Community Impact work by visiting our website.)
Tom wrapped up his talk with a challenge to other business leaders:
“Can you honestly say that you operate any part of our business to effectuate positive change in your local community? Whatever you do or you don’t do as a business, we’re being perceived as prospering at the expense of a brosder community and I think it’s really due to an outdated approach to value creation.
“We as businesses often optimize our short-term financial performance and we miss the needs or ignore broader influences that ultimately determine our longer-term success. There’s this presumed trade-off between economic efficient and social progress, and I honestly believe that the competitiveness of our business and the health of our community that surround us are closely intertwined. We’ve got to learn how to enhance the competiveness of our companies by simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which we operate.
“You will solve community issues that will help you business do better.”