On May 5, 1916, some of the most prominent business leaders in the United States gathered at the Hotel Gramatan in Bronxville, N.Y. to found an organization that would offer a forward-looking, non-partisan, and evidence-based response to challenges that threatened the continued rapid growth of America’s industrial economy.
While the specific issues—including the massive disruptions of World War I, and militant labor unrest triggered by tragedies like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire—are thankfully confined to the history books, the concerns motivating The Conference Board’s founders are in many ways freshly relevant for the world of 2016. Growing inequality in income and opportunities, the rapidly shifting balance of power among global economies, and the imperative to make capitalism socially and environmentally sustainable for generations to come: These are again dominant themes in the research, events, and networks we offer to more than 1,000 member organizations worldwide, and the public at large.
As you’ll learn on this centennial site, The Conference Board has been on the forefront of a century of transformations that have shaped the global economy we know today. From our early research on adapting the eight-hour workday and worker’s compensation laws in the U.S. to our current far-flung work in offices from Beijing to Brussels, our relevance has been backed by a constant commitment to objectivity, facts, and collaboration over the passions of the moment.
As we take time out to celebrate the first hundred years of The Conference Board, rest assured that these same principles are driving our daily efforts to understand and interpret the century ahead.
Jon Spector, CEO of The Conference Board April 2016
Day of Service
The Conference Board Marks Centennial with Global Day of Service
Employees Rededicate Organization to Founding Vision of 1916: EntwiningImproved Business Performance in a Strengthened Societal Fabric
NEW YORK, July 27, 2016...The Conference Board is commemorating its centennial year by naming Wednesday, July 27 a Global Day of Service. Employees in the organization’s New York headquarters have pledged to devote part or all of today’s work hours to volunteering with Hour Children, an organization that helps incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children successfully rejoin the community, reunify with their families, and build healthy, independent and secure lives. Volunteers will serve a range of Hour Children programs, including its summer camp, daycare, teen club, food pantry, and Working Women Reentry Program.
"Today's activities reflect a commitment to working in the public interest that began with our founding," said Jon Spector, CEO of The Conference Board. "Over the past century, our work has led the way in helping businesses shape—and adapt to—an economy open to the contributions of progressively more participants. This tradition began with our earliest proposals on the eight-hour workday and worker’s compensation, extends through decades of pioneering research on incorporating women, racial minorities, and the disabled into the workforce, and continues today with our growing body of thought leadership in human capital, global economies, sustainability, philanthropy, governance, and more."
The Conference Board was born on May 5, 1916 at the Hotel Gramatan in Bronxville, NY, in a meeting that included some of the most prominent business leaders in the United States. Against a backdrop of growing economic inequality and roiling labor unrest, they founded an organization that would offer a forward-looking, non-partisan, and evidence-based response to the challenges of maturing capitalism. Today, in an era of comparable turmoil, The Conference Board counts nearly 1,000 of the world’s leading companies and institutions as members. Offices from Beijing to Brussels support these members, and the public at large, with a portfolio of objective research, cutting-edge events, and trusted peer-learning networks. The Global Day of Service is part of a year-long slate of Centennial reflections; previously, The Conference Board was featured at the Nasdaq closing bell on June 16 and the New York Stock Exchange closing bell on July 12.
The Global Day of Service will continue in regional offices throughout the world, with staff of The Conference Board serving several pressing local causes. In Singapore, employees will be spending the morning of Saturday, August 13 with Singapore YWCA – Weekend Sustenance for Families, where they will assist in packing and delivering food and basic necessities to low- and middle-income families. Employees in the Hong Kong office have already worked with their local YWCA on July 22, in support of its services for the city’s growing aging population, whom are often forced to live alone or in elderly centers. Employees at The Conference Board China Center in Beijing and in its Brussels office are in the midst of coordinating their own Day of Service events for the months ahead. The Conference Board Centennial year will continue through May 5, 2017.