As Terry Lundgren, chairman and CEO of Macy’s, receives the Lifetime Humanitarian Award at the 19th Annual Housewares Charity Foundation Gala, tonight, he will be doing something that has become a guiding force for the retailer’s philanthropic endeavors: making an impact.
Macy’s charitable efforts are diverse, but a few years ago, Lundgren told HOMEWORLD BUSINESS®, he and Macy’s executives determined to focus corporate philanthropy on a select group of programs that addressed the priorities of the retailer’s customers and employees, and by doing so, make an impact that they all could appreciate.
The effort emphasized not only dollars given but also involvement fostered as the company sought to make more people aware of critical issues and the Macy’s supported organizations that address them.
Lundgren said he has been involved with the development of Macy’s charitable initiatives for the past seven or eight years since the company decided to focus its giving.
“Before, we were giving a little to everybody but not having a big impact on any organization,” he said. “We narrowed our focus and really asked our employees and, in some cases, our customers, what are their priorities.”
Once the company understood more about the issues employees and customers cared the most about, Macy’s directed its efforts to make a difference.
“We tried to select organizations doing the best job in women’s health issues, public education, and arts and culture,” Lundgren said. “We tried to look within each of these broad categories to find organizations trying to do big jobs, and that has made a huge difference. We roughly give back something in the range of $60 million in contributions to charities through corporate giving and employee programs.”
Lundgren said the fight against breast cancer is a battle that Macy’s employees and customers are proud to join the company in supporting because the disease has affected most people directly or through its effect on family members or friends. “It becomes personal,” Lundgren said.
Lundgren’s involvement with this year’s Housewares Charity Research Foundation Gala arose from a phone call from Leonard Lauder, chairman emeritus of the Estée Lauder Cos. and husband of the late Evelyn Lauder, founder of the HCF legacy charity, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Lundgren said he counts both Lauders as personal friends.
“I’m honored to do it in Evelyn’s memory and to raise funds for breast cancer research,” Lundgren said.
For more on Macy’s Terry Lundgren, the HCF’s Lifetime Humanitarian, see the March 7, 2016, show daily of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS®. This issue also features coverage of the International Home + Housewares Show.