Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Responsibility Project

I recently stumbled upon a short film on The Responsibility Project website, about a father going to extraordinary measures to find his six year old’s lost teddy bear. As the story unfolds a stream of complete starngers become involved in helping tis dad with his quest.
Having searched through trash bins looking for my child’s lost “blankie” this movie struck a chord with me. Although I did not have a taxi full of people helping me, I could appreciate what it meant to the father in the film to have the support of complete strangers. But, what struck me even more was the very unusual concept of the Responsibility Project itself.

The insurance company Liberty Mutual, has a website: “The Responsibility Project”, where they show short films about people and their acts of kindness, caring, and responsibility towards others. The site also has a blog with a variety of stories and discussions about responsibility to our families, communities and even strangers.

The Responsibility Project was originally inspired by a commercial that Liberty Mutual made about strangers helping each other. The commercial was about the “pay it forward” concept, where one person helped a stranger and each person subsequently went on to help another stranger. The commercial received so many positive responses that they decided to expand on the ideas by creating a website with more stories. The purpose of the website is to inspire people to think about their values, their ethics, and their caring about others in their community.

Liberty Mutual also has The Liberty Mutual Foundation: “Established in 2003, the Liberty Mutual Foundation supports communities in which our employees live and work by promoting ways to help people live safer, more secure lives. The foundation awards grants in education and health and human services, and invests in access to health care for low income individuals, mentoring programs, and cultural organizations.”

The word philanthropy, comes from the Greek: “phil” which means love, and “anthropy” which means mankind. Liberty Mutual’s philanthropy, through their “Responsibility Project” is an example of how to promote and foster acts of “love of mankind”.

Any business, small or large, can tap into their values and mission and create a project of any type, promoting those very values with hope of creating good for themselves and their community.

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