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Corporate Citizenship (Editorial)

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Last year, a video that was essentially a 4-minute commercial for TD Canada Trust, a great big bank with 1,100 branches in our northern neighbor, went viral. It now has more than 21 million views on YouTube and is still winding up on Facebook timelines.

On one particular Friday, TD Canada staged a “#TDThanksYou” campaign, setting up a faux ATM — an “Automated Thanking Machine” — in four TD Canada locations, dispensing gifts to select customers. The gifts included money, flowers and more. One awestruck Toronto Blue Jays fan got the opportunity to throw the first pitch at an upcoming game, a message delivered by the Jays’ Jose Bautista, and an elderly woman received airline tickets to visit her daughter who had just undergone cancer surgery in Trinidad.

For TD Canada, the cost of the campaign had to have been dwarfed by the enormous goodwill it generated.

How much greater then is the goodwill generated by something like Murphy Oil Corp.’s El Dorado Promise? “The company was cash-flowing a couple of billion dollars a year, and $50 million to us, especially if you stretched it out over a number of years, which we ultimately did, really wasn’t that much money, and the bang for the buck would be so terrific,” Claiborne Deming, Murphy’s chairman, told our Assistant Editor Sean Beherec.

A free college education is life-changing for those who take advantage of it. But for Murphy Oil, it just involved some budgetary adjustments.

Or consider Wal-Mart, which employs 2.2 million people worldwide. The largest company in the world has thousands of job openings on any given day. Its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment seeks to fill some of those openings with military veterans, gaining the retailer priceless positive publicity.

And, of course, thousands of much smaller businesses in Arkansas sponsor thousands of local causes.

To all: Your efforts are noticed, they’re appreciated and they’re changing lives.

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