On Tuesday, the U.S. Agency for International Development unveiled a program to make it easier for more companies of all sizes to send professionals abroad to help local governments, small businesses and civic groups in developing nations. The new Center of Excellence for International Corporate Volunteerism was developed with IBM and CDC Development Solutions (CDS), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that manages companies international volunteer initiatives.
Pierre Ferrari, chief executive officer of nonprofit Heifer International, told msnbc.com he doesn't begrudge the corporate newcomers.
"It makes sense to work together … At Heifer we work with the poorest of the poor, small-holder farmers, producers who need a market for their goods," said Ferrari, a former Coca-Cola USA vice president and a member of the board of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. "(But) everyone brings a separate and complementary expertise. NGOs have expertise in community development at a grassroots level; governments can assist with infrastructure and laws; companies like IBM provide financial resources and intellectual property, even market demand for emerging markets in the same field, such as dairy. A partnership can include corporations as both buyers and mentors."