Here’s why giving back is the key to success for Caitlin Crosby’s social impact enterprise.


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When singer/songwriter Caitlin Crosby turned her hotel key into a necklace, she had no idea it would be the start of a social impact company now known as The Giving Keys

While on tour, Crosby started selling keys engraved with encouraging words at her merchandise tables. After the necklaces began outselling her albums, Crosby knew she had unlocked the key to success.

Since 2008, The Giving Keys has expanded from a one-woman business into a social enterprise dedicated to paying it forward. Crosby’s pieces are sold in over 1,200 stores across the country, and she has built up a celebrity following through stars like Taylor Swift, Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber.

Today, keys that once opened doors now open so much more. The Giving Keys has provided more than 130 jobs to people transitioning out of homelessness, who make and assemble the products. “It’s incredible to see the power of words, and the power of human connection, and how we all need each other,” says Crosby.

Each handmade piece of

Last week in this space I wrote about how companies like Apple, Nike, and architecture firm Foster + Partners are designing face shields that can be used to protect doctors, nurses and first responders against the coronavirus.

A few readers wrote to ask why I didn’t mention Ford Motor, whose pivot to producing face shields and ventilators Fortune’s Maria Aspan expertly chronicled in our latest magazine issue.

I should have. In under a week, a freshly-assembled task force designed, produced and delivered an innovative face shield made of less than a dozen parts—many of which are sourced from materials Ford already has in abundance.

The speed of Ford’s business pivot from manufacturing autos to face shields would be remarkable even by the standards of Silicon Valley startups—and offers a case study in how design thinking can help old-line industrial giants react nimbly to unexpected challenges.

Most of Ford is still shut down; the company hasn’t announced a time frame for resuming auto production. Yet a group of about 700 workers using little automation and keeping six feet apart is turning out shields at a rate of 1.5 million per week at Troy Design and Manufacturing, a Ford subsidiary …

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Good morning.

I’ve made several references in this newsletter to CEOs who find most of their employees working from home. Yesterday, I spoke with Emmanuel Faber, Chairman and CEO of Danone, who has 2/3rds of his 100,000 employees around the world still at work–operating factories, collecting milk, distributing product, etc. The company has instituted some pretty extreme distancing protocols at its factories, as well as temperature checks, and premium pay for those on duty. (You can read more in this Financial Times story.)

Danone has enjoyed a spot on Fortune’s Change the World list for its focus on social benefits, and is working to convert the entire company to B-Corp status over the next decade. Faber said the crisis will accelerate the company’s move toward B-Corp status, and probably push other companies in the same direction. His take:

“Everything we have seen during the last several months suggests companies will have even more stakeholders than they felt before, with government stepping in, health authorities stepping in, and so on. Whether you want to call them stakeholders or not, they

During World War II, American industry mobilized to support the military. Now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, American industry is stepping up to support the battle against COVID-19. Companies both large and small have shifted gears to produce needed supplies, fill gaps in the supply chain, and offer their expertise to bolster public health efforts. 

In this week’s episode of “Leadership Next,” Fortune CEO Alan Murray’s podcast on the changing rules of business leadership, Murray and senior editor Ellen McGirt interview two chief executives on how their companies are adjusting in an effort to beat the coronavirus. KR Sridhar, CEO of Bloom Energy, and Jane Mosbacher Morris, founder and CEO of To the Market, discussed their businesses’ approach to this crisis.

“Even though these are terrible times, I can’t help but feel we are in the middle of a global master class in crisis innovation,” McGirt said. “People are conjuring up new solutions to help the world with the capabilities they already have.”

Bloom Energy, a clean-energy company based in San Jose, is what Sridhar calls “a mission driven company,” making it a no-brainer to deploy some of its employees to tackle pain points …

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Good morning, Bull Sheeters. Stocks are trading higher, which is pretty impressive considering the volatility in the oil markets and a fresh wave of weak corporate results.

Let’s check in on what’s happening around the world.

Markets update

Asia

  • The major indices are mixed, with Hong Kong up and Tokyo and Shanghai down.
  • In Asia trade, the price of Brent and WTI plunged again, extending yesterday’s losses.
  • South Korea, one of the world’s biggest storage markets for crude, is telling producers we can’t take on any more barrels. The state-run Korea National Oil Corp. said it’s run out of the storage space it usually leases to third parties.

Europe

  • European bourses are all trading in the green after a sluggish start. Germany’s DAX led the way higher, up nearly 0.7% in mid-morning trade.
  • To earnings now… Oil giant BP announced a big profit hit. HSBC and Spain’s Santander, meanwhile, warned that non-performing loans and bad credit were quickly marring their books. Novartis though bucked the trend. The drugmaker kept intact its full-year