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Creating Positive Impact Beyond the Bottom Line

In this installment of CMF Community Voices, Taylor Williams, CMF/Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation Philanthropy Fellow, shares her reflections on sustainable business models offering hope for the future. 

Taylor Williams


CMF Community Voices features a series of conversations and insights from leaders across our community of philanthropy. This curated collection of blogs and Q&As lifts up inspiring voices from changemakers providing reflections in the areas of Equity, People, Practice and Policy, with equity at the center.

Creating Positive Impact Beyond the Bottom Line

By Taylor Williams, CMF/Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation Philanthropy Fellow

Numerous studies have shown that our generation cares deeply about supporting businesses that prioritize people and the planet. This resonates with me, a card-carrying member of Gen Z because it is not just about the quality; it is about the impact. 

We are now entering a world facing ongoing climate and humanitarian crises which has led to our devout interest in making an impact as it deeply affects us and our future, now more than ever before.

Sustainable business goes beyond just the traditional bottom line. It is about a company's ESG (environmental, social and governmental) efforts. This "triple bottom line" considers the impact on people, the planet and profit.

In one of my first undergraduate business classes, the concept of the triple bottom line was introduced and ignited my passion for this work. This has translated to my current career path. I have gravitated towards nonprofit work, corporate philanthropy and now in my current role at the Erb Family Foundation – all focused on creating positive impact. When it comes to personally supporting organizations, I actively seek out B-Corps, businesses that meet rigorous standards for social and environmental good, when I can.

As we journey through an increasingly complex world, it becomes apparent that businesses with sustainable practices ingrained within them are not only ethically sound but also poised to thrive in the long run. Sustainability isn't merely a trend; it's a profound shift towards a more balanced and equitable society. Through the lens of business as a force for good, I can see a future where success is measured not only in financial terms but also in the positive impact we leave on the world.

We can stand united in our joint recognition of the need for significant structural change. These changes should be focused on and driven by the needs of the people and the planet to have an ongoing impact. We understand the reality of our generation's circumstances, but we also know that there is great potential to do good in the future.

We have hope in each other. 

Want more? 

At the Erb Family Foundation, Taylor is supporting the Arts, Sustainable Business, and Environmental Health & Justice grantmaking programs. Connect with Taylor.

CMF’s fellowship program, sponsored by CMF members, is designed to support emerging leaders with the experience and skills to advance their careers in the sector while making meaningful contributions to their home foundation and the larger nonprofit community. Each cohort of fellows supports areas of work at their sponsoring foundation and receives comprehensive, wrap-around professional development support from CMF. Learn more.