Responding to Local Social Responsibility FROM THE NEWSROOM By Jason Schaff In this issue, in our special report “The Business of Giving,” we showcase the many non-profit organizations, their officials and the work that they do which makes the greater Valley-area a better place. Part of the report also deals with the businesses, both large and small, that make community involvement a priority in their companies. It’s good business, they believe, to give back to the place that has helped make them successful. Several non-profits, their executive directors as well as some socially responsible companies are being featured in 18 different categories as “the best.” Before anyone gets annoyed that their favorite organization or their company didn’t get named to this honor, I’ll explain a few things. There are many, many effective non-profits organizations and socially responsible companies out there. One way to showcase such good works in the community is to single out some of these entities as the “best” in order to illustrate how agencies and firms effectively do their work in the community. These “best” companies our editorial staff chose to feature this issue we feel illustrate these narrowly focused categories such as “best financially managed” non-profit or “best sponsor” well. Because there are many other non-profits and companies that do good work but were not chosen as the “best,” we decided to feature them elsewhere in our report. You can find them in stories that begin on Page 1. Choosing the “best” was one of the most difficult tasks that I have had since becoming editor of this publication. As the one who had the final say on the choices, I knew that I had to carefully consider the nominations before making the picks. I also knew that because we were dealing with non-profits that promote particular causes or community work we were dealing with people’s passions and emotions. We had more than 140 nominated non-profits, companies and executives in our pool. I and the rest of the editorial staff researched the nominations by doing Internet work and making many phone calls to the agencies and companies. I also assembled an informal panel of outside sources who are familiar with the non-profit world to help me narrow down the picks. Thanks to all of you who helped. As you may notice, two large companies who do a lot of good work in the community are missing from the report: Wells Fargo and The Gas Co. Officials at these firms asked me to not consider them for any of our “best of” awards. As sponsors of the event that was held to honor our “Community Awards” picks, they didn’t want to appear self-serving and they also wanted to make room for other entities that are less well-known to be featured. Above all else, I hope this report sheds light on some good things that are happening in the greater Valley area as community groups and companies join together to do some good work. I also hope it encourages more giving in the community by all concerned. Business Journal Editor Jason Schaff can be reached at (818) 316-3125.