2009 PR News CSR Award: CSR People of the Year

RHONDA MIMS, President and SVP, Office of Corporate Responsibility and Multicultural Affairs, ING Foundation

Two years ago, Rhonda Mims, ING Foundation’s president and SVP for the office of corporate responsibility and multicultural affairs, recognized something alarming: Consumer mistrust of American business was soaring.

To combat this perception, Mims felt that her company’s charitable giving needed to have a more strategic focus and be better aligned with ING’s strengths. She believed ING could make a real difference while enhancing the brand’s bottom line by bringing together the company’s philanthropy and business objectives.

As with any initiative, there were challenges to be met. After Mims and her team talked to employees, she was shocked to discover that ING Americas was not clearly aligned with any one issue, employees were not clear on the company’s giving strategy and employee volunteerism was on the decline.

Based on the results of her due diligence, Mims and her team refocused ING Foundation’s charitable giving to enhance the brand, maximize the impact of charitable dollars, foster employee involvement and lead to meaningful social change. Leveraging its mix of market knowledge, experience and solutions to empower the financial lives of its customers, Mims felt strongly that the key to maximizing ING’s social impact would be harnessing what it does best.


While the restructuring of the program is only a year old, its results have been overwhelming. Following are some key highlights:

  • Enhanced employee engagement by creating an advisory board, setting up meaningful volunteer opportunities and encouraging employees to wear branded apparel during community activities;
  • Relaunched the employee charitable giving program; and
  • Conducted a survey with Essence magazine on African-American women and their attitudes toward money and saving.

Mims’ achievements in overhauling the CSR program at the ING Foundation within an abbreviated time span has been nothing short of inspiring.

“Rhonda Mims is truly a leader in her integrative approach to CSR,” says Heather Emerson, principal at Tiller LLC. “Her programs break down silos and cut across functional areas, spanning charitable giving, PR, the Foundation, brand marketing, employee volunteering, diversity marketing and the business units.”