The practice of corporate philanthropy has evolved significantly over the past several decades and has now become an integral part of corporate strategy. This article identifies an emerging form of corporate community involvement called "Corporate Social Initiatives" (CSI). These programs differ from their predecessors in that they are connected to the firm's core values, responsive to moral pressures, based on the firm's core competencies, and have clear objectives and means of measurement. Firms are adopting these initiatives as a part of a strategy that seeks competitive advantage through reputation assets or as a response to perceived pressures from the moral marketplace. This article explicates the drivers behind the increased interest in CSI, relates CSI to changes in the environment of social expectations for business, reviews potential challenges to CSI programs, and suggests critical factors in the design of successful CSI programs.
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