Robert P. McGraw confesses his Chinese isn't exactly passable. But his heart is in the right place: He's giving back to Longjiang Village, a town in southwestern China where his 6-year-old company has built a very modern raw-materials processing center.
So far, his company, Longjiang River Health Products, has financed the village's first waste management facility, donated more than 40 computers to the local school and started a fund to make sure schoolgirls have textbooks. Employees tutor local children and work on construction projects.
Longjiang Village is a world away, both literally and figuratively, from the company's Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, headquarters, but McGraw hopes to make a difference there. "I think it's very important that you put down roots in the community," he says. A few roots certainly haven't hurt Longjiang River Health Products' bottom line: 2005 sales were in the millions.
Chris Penttila is a Washington, DC-based freelance journalist who covers workplace issues on her blog, Workplacediva.blogspot.com.