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Jamaica National’s General Manager calls for constructive philanthropy among Private Sector Entities…“Giving Back Is As Critical As Earning”

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Earl Jarrett, General Manager of Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) is calling for increased strategic corporate social responsibility to boost national development. He said that private sector leaders must carefully plan their outreach initiatives to include ‘constructive philanthropy’. Work in this area, he notes, is as strong an indication of corporate success as is profitability.

“Corporate Jamaica should lend expertise to voluntary efforts, and through philanthropy, lead socio-economic programs that facilitate sustained development and capacity building at the community level,” he asserted, adding “the resulting levels of national development, will further propel the business sector, and eventually, lead to improved lives for all Jamaicans.”

Mr. Jarrett pointed out that while the government must honor its responsibility to provide an environment conducive to success, there are serious gaps which can be addressed by the private sector.

“There must be greater sharing of technology, knowledge, and skills between the private and public sectors to benefit long-term planning and lead developmental programs at the community, national and regional levels,” the JNBS General Manager suggested.

Earl Jarrett

He noted that this is an increasing world wide trend, citing examples from densely populated developing countries such as India and other Asian nations.

“Private sector entities in India are currently collaborating to tackle issues such as malnutrition and education. Firms within specific sectors tailor their outreach and commercial initiatives to benefit these national causes and work to effect measurable change within their immediate environment. The initiative continues to yield overwhelming success,” Mr. Jarrett pointed out.

According to Mr. Jarrett, this idea has taken root within the JN Group, and several entities are working through the JNBS Foundation to contribute at the community level.

“Each JNBS location appoints a Branch Advisory Council which develops and implements outreach programs in their locale with funding provided by the JNBS Foundation. The Advisory Councils comprise longstanding JNBS Members and the Society’s staff who have an altruistic interest in community activities. In the last year, some 24 projects, which contributed to skills training and infrastructural development, were completed. Several of these were in under-served communities,” he explained.

Mr. Jarrett added that the Foundation has an expansive rural regeneration project which also facilitates educational development through information technology at the primary and secondary levels. Another component of this thrust is the Youth Zoom photography competition which teaches advocacy skills through photography.

“Additionally, JNBS has always targeted education programs and currently provides funding for some 70 secondary and tertiary students annually,” he disclosed and stated that “the Society employs this strategy with a view to contributing to the long-term development of Jamaica’s work force.”

The JNBS General Manager added that the organization encourages volunteerism among its staff members who often select charities of their own, giving time and making donations of cash and kind. Some organizations benefiting from employee projects include the Best Care Children’s Home, Golden Age Home and more recently, Sophie’s Place, one of the Mustard Seed communities.

“Some 50 years following emancipation, JNBS was formed. Since that time, it has grown steadily, and that growth has been accompanied by increasing commitment to constructive philanthropy,” he said, “And, while charity begins at home, given that the Society’s reach goes beyond our shores, to serve Jamaicans in the Diaspora, we are also committed to the building of human capital in the countries where we have a corporate presence.”

He noted that the Society’s focus on developing products and services is guided by recognition of the need to provide relevant, convenient and beneficial service to its members and customers.

“We tailor our products and services to provide added benefits that enhance the customer experience. We recognize that it is through service to our members that the organization is able to serve others,” he asserted.

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