Cara Garcia-Bou of the T. Rowe Price Foundation is the 2021 recipient of the ACCP Rising Star Purpose Award, which is given to a junior or mid-level professional in corporate citizenship whose work has created outsized impact either inside or outside the company, without the advantage of positional authority.
As this year’s recipient, we wanted to learn more about Cara, both personally and professionally.
Tell us a bit about your path to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and your current position at T. Rowe Price.
As the Learning and Communications Officer at the T. Rowe Price Foundation, I wear a few hats. I am responsible for advancing systems and structures that help us learn, measure, and assess our work. In addition, I help get the word out about the Foundation’s work and manage communications with grantees. I also collaborate closely with colleagues who manage additional corporate social responsibility initiatives across the firm. One of the things I like most about my job is supporting the great nonprofits in Baltimore doing critical and innovative work to help its citizens.
On a personal note, I’m also proud that the Foundation supports many arts organizations in Baltimore. I started my career in the nonprofit arts sector working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and later transitioned to corporate employee communications at JPMorgan Chase, a global financial firm. Throughout these experiences, I quickly realized how essential partnerships are between the nonprofit sector and the business community in advancing positive growth and development of cities, people, employees, and neighborhoods – which led me to where I am today.
What changes have you seen in CSR due to the impacts of 2020?
2020 was a challenging year – and the after-effects continue. But the year also offered some silver linings. I was happy to see so many corporate philanthropies engage in open dialogue to figure out how to make the grant process easier, faster, and better to support the nonprofit sector. At the T. Rowe Price Foundation, we re-committed to trust-based philanthropy principles. I was happy to see that many corporations and philanthropies took the time to look in the mirror and evaluate their equity principles and practices and plans for change. And I am happy the T. Rowe Price Foundation’s capacity-building program could virtually engage more nonprofits than ever before.
What piece of advice would you give to someone considering entering the CSR field?
The CSR field is multi-faceted, including corporate citizenship, philanthropy, volunteerism, pro-bono, innovative partnerships, and more. Leveraging the power of all of these together is more critical than ever for businesses to be responsible corporate citizens in the cities in which they operate. More and more, lessons learned from corporate responsibility are influencing other socially conscious business practices. Because of this, my advice would be to come to the table being open to trying new things, pushing the needle, and taking risks.
What’s something that others may be surprised to learn about you?
I really like to snowboard (but I’m also kind of scared of it).
What’s a favorite quote or saying?
Two that my father always says:
“If you’re going to do something, do it right” (with intention and dedication) and “the early bird catches the worm” (if you want to do something, get on it!).
If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?
I would like to have met Jane Jacobs, an urbanist and activist. She argued that cities and neighborhoods succeed when there is a diversity of use, function, and people and that historic buildings should be preserved. I’d wonder what she thinks of our city today.
What’s something that’s always in your fridge?
Breakfast items. I love breakfast for breakfast or lunch but especially for dinner!
Congratulations to Cara and the other recipients of this year’s Purpose Awards. For more information about the awards, please visit our website.