Steven Wheeler is Director of Archives, Corporate Giving and Education for the Corporate Responsibility Group of NYSE Euronext.
On March 28, 1985, President Ronald Reagan came to the NYSE – the first time in history that a U.S. president had visited the Exchange while in office.
Reagan was here to present a commendation to the NYSE for its Private Sector Initiatives activities, a program that encouraged companies to use their resources to help solve community problems.
The president toured a very crowded and enthusiastic trading floor and rang the Opening Bell. He then keynoted a conference with Wall Street leaders discussing ways that corporate America could help solve community, economic, and social challenges.
The president’s Private Sector Initiatives program, launched in 1981 and chaired by NYSE Chairman John J. Phelan, Jr., asked businesses to work with nonprofit partners to better meet community needs.
The program focused on four areas: corporate social responsibility, public-private partnerships, charitable giving, and volunteerism. It promoted a broad range of activities including family-friendly employee benefit policies, job training programs, aid for food banks and other hunger programs, student scholarships and corporate support for schools, investment strategies that contribute to a community’s economic base, and many others.
Some of the work that was undertaken by the Private Sector Initiatives of 30 years ago still echoes in many corporate responsibility programs that companies pursue today.
Just last week the NYSE launched the NYSE Big StartUp, an innovative, multi-dimensional program that connects the expertise of big companies with start-ups and entrepreneurs to help small businesses succeed and drive job growth. Read all about it in the news release here. It is one of many NYSE Euronext initiatives that have a positive impact on our communities and bring value to our company. Explore our CR website for more details.