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Mixing Business and Politics: Courage is the Key

PHOTO: CREDO Mobile President Michael Kieschnick says businesses need to be courageous when it comes to political involvement. He'll be a featured speaker at the upcoming Social Venture Network Spring Conference. Courtesy of CREDO Mobile.
PHOTO: CREDO Mobile President Michael Kieschnick says businesses need to be courageous when it comes to political involvement. He'll be a featured speaker at the upcoming Social Venture Network Spring Conference. Courtesy of CREDO Mobile.
April 3, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Some socially minded businesses may shy away from getting involved in issues considered controversial, but that doesn't have to be the case.

Michael Kieschnick, chief executive and president of CREDO Mobile, advises businesses that when it comes to mixing business and politics, be courageous and you'll reap the rewards. Part of CREDO's mission is to change the world through political activism, and Kieschnick said that means showing "no fear" about expressing beliefs.

"I think too much of the world of socially minded businesses tries to downplay controversy," he said, "and tries to focus more on philanthropy or doing nice things, as opposed to confronting injustice and those practices that are literally destroying the planet."

CREDO is able to be aggressive on social change because it has remained a privately owned company, said Kieschnick, adding that it's always clear and upfront with its goals.

"That allows us to take positions which, to some who oppose us, may feel controversial," he said, "but that hasn't hurt us at all because the people that we care the most about - that is, our customers, our shareholders and employees - are all fully aligned with what we're doing."

CREDO/Working Assets was founded in 1985. Each time a member uses one of the services - such as a mobile or long-distance phone call, or makes a credit-card purchase - a donation automatically is sent to a nonprofit organization.

Kieschnick said CREDO has donated a total of more than $75 million to progressive organizations, planted more than 1 million trees and helped register more than 6 million people to vote - and that isn't all.

"Over the last five years, our members and activists have called, written, emailed, signed petitions more than 30 million times," he said, "so I think we are the single biggest generator of engagement by Americans."

Kieschnick will be among the featured speakers at the spring conference of the Social Venture Network, to be held April 25-28 in San Diego. The event's theme is Courageous Conversations. More information on the conference is online at svn.org. Information on CREDO is at credomobile.com.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TN