The other day, I received the terrible news that Steve Robinson, a leading advocate for veterans and a friend of Causecast, had suddenly passed away. He died at the age of 51, while working at his desk at Prudential, laboring to the very end to improve the lives of veterans.
Steve’s work at Prudential was a remarkable example of just how creative and effective corporate philanthropy can be. As Prudential’s Vice President of External Veterans Affairs, Steve was charged with strengthening and building relationships with military and veteran service organizations and related government agencies, all in the service of helping Prudential be a corporate champion for veterans. In this capacity, Steve interfaced regularly with his peers in the Fortune 500 and the highest levels of government, including the White House, Congress, the Department of Defense, the Department of Labor and the Veterans Administration.
It was a dream job for Steve, granting him the generous philanthropic resources of a company committed to backing his vision for supporting veterans, particularly in the area of employment and in helping returning veterans fully integrate back into society. The role afforded Steve an ideal opportunity that he never imagined could exist in Corporate America.
What was amazing is that so much of Steve’s work for Prudential didn’t directly benefit Prudential at all. As I wrote about a couple of years ago when I interviewed Steve, one of his key responsibilities was to help Prudential develop best practices with regards to veterans employment issues and ensure that the company is a welcoming place for veterans transitioning to the workforce. But his duties didn’t stop at Prudential’s door; he was also charged with sharing these best practices with other corporate leaders to widen the national support net for veterans.