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TUPPERWARE BRANDS’ RICK GOINGS: WHY WE GIVE

Published on March 8, 2017 under Celebrate The Children

Tupperware Brands CEO Rick Goings doesn’t really want a blog post focusing on the company’s generous Platinum Partnership of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida’s “Celebrate The Children 2017.”

“It’s not that we don’t appreciate it,” Goings says, “but recognition is not why Tupperware contributes. We’re philanthropic because it’s our corporate culture to bring value to the lives of our associates, our sales force, and the communities we serve.”

Lest you think this sounds Panglossian, Goings adds “But you can’t do that unless you’re profitable and grow.  We believe philanthropy and profitability are complimentary.”

Doubtless it’s this corporate culture that has helped the business grow a sales force of 3.1 million strong, reach $2.2 billion in 2016 sales, and repeatedly land the company on Fortune’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” list.

While Tupperware, founded in 1946, has a long history of charitable giving, as CEO, Goings has focused the company’s efforts during his tenure. “In the past, we did a little good in a lot of places. My vision was to concentrate our philanthropy, primarily, on two things:  women’s issues and Boys & Girls Clubs.”

In fact, Goings made this realignment a condition of his hiring 25 years ago, when Tupperware wooed him away from Avon.

“The tremendous difference that Rick Goings has made to Boys & Girls Clubs locally, nationally and globally cannot be overstated,” says Gary Cain, CEO of BGCCF.  “I’m hard put to think of another human being who has made such a lasting impact on the lives of children, worldwide—no exaggeration.”

Consider that Goings has served two terms as National Chairman of Boys & Girls Clubs of America Board of Governors, helping to transform the organization’s corporate culture and expand its scope. Prior to his tenure, BGCA operated no Clubs on Native American land.  Now there are 200.  There were no Clubs in public housing projects—there are more than 400 today. 

Goings championed the founding of the Tupperware Brands Branch in Kissimmee, FL and two Tupperware Clubs in South Africa.  He and his wife personally funded the Rick & Susan Goings Club in Hemingway, South Carolina, so that employees from the Tupperware factory there would have a nurturing place for their children to go to after school.  And under his leadership, Tupperware has catalyzed the openings of 68 Boys & Girls Clubs in in 12 economically disadvantaged countries, including Mexico, Nigeria, Haiti, and Ghana.  Tupperware Brands does business in Mexico and Southern Africa.

Eschewing arm’s-length philanthropy, Goings has inculcated personal service to Club members in the Tupperware corporate culture.  The corporation has sponsored the “Smart Girls” program for years, which matches female Club members with Tupperware associates (employees) as mentors.

“It’s considered a huge honor for our associates to be chosen as mentors,” says Elinor Steele, Tupperware Brands Vice President of Global Communications and Women’s Initiatives, and Goings’ longtime colleague and confidante.

This personal involvement starts at the top. Goings lights up when talking about Mona, who went from being homeless to earning her master’s degree and now works for a local Boys & Girls Club in Arizona.  Each year at Thanksgiving, Rick and Susan set extra places at the table of their Virginia farm for Club members to break bread with their extended family.

With a vast universe of worthy causes to choose from, what was it about Boys & Girls Clubs that ignited Goings’ passion?

“The first Club I ever went into was out in the Bronx – the Kips Bay Club – right in the highest drug use and gang violence area.  But this Club was an oasis in a blighted neighborhood.  I walked in and discovered bright faces, smiling and hopeful children. I was so impressed by the contrast.”

“We’re getting to a place in our world where the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ is larger than ever before.  Our Clubs counter this trend,” he continues.  “We want to be a safe space first; second, put a caring adult in their lives–77% of young black men don’t have male role models in their home; third, we want them to have a marketable skill; and fourth, we want them to give back.”

Goings wraps up our interview.  “So, please don’t feel like you need to write a blog about Tupperware.  Devote the space to something that you think will make other people want to give.”

And this is just what we’ve done.

For more information on Celebrate The Children 2017, please visit http://www.bgccf.org/news-events/celebrate-the-children/, or contact Pamela Sible at psible@bgccf.org or 407-841-6855.

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