Community involvement

Community involvement—enhancing quality of life, benefiting our employees

We strive to help the communities in which we operate to become vibrant places to live and work. We serve many communities around the world, and our employees' skills and ideas are a reflection thereof. When we support our local communities, we also support our employees, customers and other stakeholders.

We contribute significant resources to enhance the communities we serve

We encourage community involvement, in the belief that doing so creates healthy, sustainable communities and business facilities. Our ultimate goal is to bring tangible and sustainable benefits to the places in which we live and work around the world. Some examples of our involvement include:

  • Service on the boards of non-profit organisations
  • Volunteer programmes
  • Financial support
  • In-kind contributions

The talent, energy and skills that our employees donate to community projects hold significant value for us as well as for the communities we serve. Our volunteers benefit from the satisfaction of accomplishing necessary work, expanding their social connections, practising creative problem-solving and increased well-being.

We find that employees who volunteer with local organisations are more committed to their community and feel more fulfilled at home and at work. 

For more than 100 years we have supported the United Way in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico
For more than 100 years we have supported the United Way in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico
Our 2017 charitable contributions exceeded $11.4 million, the majority of it in support of health and human services
11.4 m
Our 2017 charitable contributions exceeded $11.4 million, the majority of it in support of health and human services
For 11 consecutive years we’ve been included on Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list
For 11 consecutive years we’ve been included on Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list

Supporting United Way for more than 100 years

We have a long tradition of public service and commitment to our communities. In 1915, our founder Joseph O. Eaton led the formation of The Cleveland Federation for Charity and Philanthropy, which helped create the first United Way in Cleveland, Ohio.

Supporting the United Way in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico has been a top priority for us for the last 100 years. Our tradition of United Way support is deeply embedded in our culture. Throughout our communities, employees serve on United Way Boards of Directors, Community Campaign Cabinets and Allocation Committees.

We support the United Way concept of raising charitable donations through a single company-wide campaign. This allows community volunteers to allocate campaign proceeds to agencies that provide needed health and human services. For every dollar donated by an employee, Eaton contributes 50 cents.

Our strong commitment to the United Way goes beyond the dollars contributed. Three of our recent CEOs have served as chairmen of the Greater Cleveland United Way campaigns, and plant managers and other Eaton leaders regularly take leadership roles in local campaigns.

Providing meaningful impact for local communities

Our employees take pride in determining where we invest our time and money. Local managers and employees work together to determine the programmes their facility will support. This approach helps to ensure that our community involvement has the most meaningful impact at each location.

Many of our facilities have created community involvement teams, which tailor site activities to the needs of their local communities. Comprised of cross-functional employees, their responsibilities include:

  • Developing an annual community involvement plan and budget to support activities
  • Conducting employee-giving campaigns
  • Organising volunteer activities
  • Responding to community requests for donations

Our community involvement teams foster higher employee participation and a strong sense of pride. Their individual efforts and contributions directly benefit the places where they live and work.

Annual Stover Awards recognise volunteer accomplishments

Every year, we recognise the extraordinary accomplishments of employees who volunteer in their communities with the Stover Award for community service.  Any Eaton employee can nominate full-time employees who demonstrate leadership or service in community organisations.

The senior vice president within each business unit appoints a selection committee to review nominations. The committee chooses the recipients based on the following criteria:

  • Positive impact of the employee's involvement in both the organisation and the community.
  • Extent to which the nominee has demonstrated leadership or unwavering dedication to the organisation.
  • Importance of the activity or institution to the Eaton community, employees and their families.
  • Volunteer service with other non-profit community organisations.
  • Letter(s) of commendation from the organisation for which the employee volunteers.

Stover Volunteerism Award recipients each receive a commemorative award, a check over $2,500 payable to the non-profit organisation of their choice, and special recognition by our chairman and CEO at a formal ceremony.

Eaton Charitable Fund—supporting education, arts, culture and social services

In 1953, we became one of the first companies to establish a corporate foundation, the Eaton Charitable Fund, to support public charities. The Eaton Charitable Fund actively supports programmes that improve the quality of life in communities where we operate. We provide financial and volunteer contributions to education, the arts, cultural institutions and social service organisations.

To encourage our employees to become more involved in their communities, the Fund gives primary consideration to requests from organisations for which Eaton executives serve on the board. Fund money is also made available to Eaton sites commensurate with facility size, and local employees decide how to allocate resources where they are needed most.

Matching gift programme multiplies employee giving

Gifts made to education, arts, and cultural non-profit organisations in the United States by our employees, pensioners, and directors are multiplied by Eaton's Matching Gift Programme. Donations are matched $0.50 on the dollar to most 501(c)(3) non-profits, including arts, cultural, educational, and health & human services organisations. Donors receive a match of $5,000 per calendar year. All Eaton employees in the United States are eligible to participate.

Direct aid to employees

Eaton employees care about their colleagues. After expressing a desire to help other Eaton employees affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, we created a new fund for employees to help their fellow employees in times of dire need.

The Eaton Qualified Disaster Relief Fund allows all US employees to donate money, on a tax-exempt basis, to help Eaton colleagues who have suffered catastrophic property losses due to the recent hurricanes or any future disasters. And, to maximise the impact of their donations, Eaton will match contributions dollar for dollar (up to a $5,000 annual match).


Eaton is proud to have strong internal processes and controls for managing our sustainability performance. Many of these controls connect individuals and teams across our company and include management at each level of the organisation.

View our governance map (Flash)

How we measure success

Our key performance indicators for local community involvement are measured through several quantitative methods, including:

  • Charitable contributions
  • Funds allocated by community involvement teams
  • Number of Stover Award recipients each year
  • Eaton Charitable Fund total annual donations
  • Number of Cleveland-area board members

Through these indicators we can evaluate our performance over time, allowing us to make informed decisions about possible needed changes.