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Thomas Knowlton

Partner and Director, Corporate Services

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Mobilizing companies for social and business impact

Tom was inspired early on in his career to see business as a force for good, instinctively recognizing opportunities to combine both the strong, economic for-profit model with providing benefits to society.

Grounded by a fundamental belief that the best corporate citizens understand the competitive advantage of having a clear purpose and values that align with their employees and customers, Tom developed and deploys a powerful strategic framework to connect the flow of influence and information within a company with the social impact goals of the company—linking executive vision and leadership with an approach and structure that leverages resources, engages employees, and creates measurable impact. His corporate citizenship knowledge and experience combined with his strategic ability confidently guides clients to combine elements of their own leadership, culture, and strategy to construct a deliberately crafted corporate citizenship approach that reinforces and supports the company’s growth and development.

Working with leading health, financial services, technology, and retail companies has kept him at the forefront of the evolving world of corporate citizenship for more than two decades.  An influential thinker and innovator, Tom conveys the value and concepts of corporate citizenship with ease, speaking frequently at leading industry conferences and writing for influential industry publications.

At TCC Group:
  • Wells Fargo: Tom has worked with several corporate citizenship teams in Wells Fargo, including its social responsibility group, the community development and community relations teams, and the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation. Over the years, Tom has helped develop an innovative community development strategy and approach for the regional foundation. This strategy focused on engaging community stakeholders to identify the community’s priority issues, and provided the planning and implementation support to address those issues. The strategy is still in place 20 years later, and evaluations have shown the approach leveraged additional funding from other funders and resulted in significant progress, including physical improvements, increased value of real estate, and more engaged residents in many of the underserved communities supported by Wells Fargo.
  • Symantec: Tom worked closely with Symantec’s corporate social responsibility team to refine their strategic goals and actively build an outcomes framework for their workforce development program. Tom sharpened the focus of the program, ensuring alignment of the initiative with the company goals. Most recently, Tom is actively helping frame the implementation of the program, including the identification of external partners.
  • Blue Shield of California: Inspired by leaders that take risks and find innovative solutions to social problems, Tom helped the healthcare organization refine and strengthen its already respected corporate citizenship framework and structure. With a steady focus on keeping every Californian healthy, Tom guided improvements to internal stakeholder engagement, working closely with internal influencers to improve communication and collaboration and develop new processes and structures for greater impact.
Before TCC Group:
  • The Council on Economic Priorities: Tom was instrumental in the development of the Council, the first of its kind, to evaluate and report on the corporate social responsibility records of Fortune 500 companies. Tom was also a leading force in the strategic development and planning of an affiliate, Social Accountability International, which created SA8000, an international labor standard now endorsed by companies with labor sourcing requirements such as Avon and Gap.
  • Earthwatch: Tom engineered the organization’s robust communications framework to inform and mobilize the force of volunteers supporting its mission to fund important but underfunded scientific work. He directed Earthwatch Magazine—the organization’s membership publication that now reaches over 60,000 readers. Tom led the editorial staff, oversaw art and production, and managed distribution that put vital action-driving materials into the hands of members.
Education:
  • Harvard University
    • MPA, Kennedy School of Government
  • Trinity College
    • BA, History
Board Service:
  • NPower
  • PAX
Additional Works:
  • Telling Your CSR Impact Story: An Outcomes Framework for a Portfolio of Programs. (2018) Presentation delivered at Philanthropy New York and the Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals.
  • Maximizing Corporate Community Involvement Workshop. (2012, 2013, 2017). Presentation delivered at Regional Grantmaking Associations in Atlanta, Memphis, Seattle, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, San Diego, Orlando, and Los Angeles.
  • Successful Corporate Citizenship: What Sets Leading Companies Apart. (2012). Speech delivered at the Florida Philanthropic Network.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility — The New Normal. (2011). Speech delivered at the Better Business Bureau.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility and the Role of Philanthropy. (2010). Speech delivered at the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers.
  • Building and Sustaining Effective Corporate-Community Partnerships. (2006). Speech delivered at the Northern California Grantmakers Corporate Philanthropy Institute.
  • Assessing Nonprofits: How Corporate Funders Can Find and Support Nonprofits that Fit. (2005). Speech delivered at The Contributions Advisory Group.
  • Future Trends and Critical Issues in Corporate Philanthropy. Speech delivered at the South Florida Donors Forum
  • Engaging Employees at All Levels: How to Maximize Employee Interest & Time for Greater Community Impact. Speech delivered at Philanthropy New York.
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