The offices of Cigna Foundation, the giving arm of Cigna Corp., will remain in Philadelphia, which is good news, given Tuesday's announcement that the insurer's headquarters would be moving to Connecticut from Philadelphia.
That's good, because the local folks who are used to asking Cigna for money for their various charitable causes won't have to forge new connections in Connectict. But it's not only the company's giving that counts. Civic life in a city also relies, at least somewhat, on the energy of the region's well-heeled top executives, and their spouses.
These power couples have the money and the support staff to make it possible for them to be involved on boards, lending their names and their clout to important projects. Their money helps as well. H. Edward Hanway, Cigna's former chief executive, was an active supporter of the Philadelphia Orchestra and it wasn't a long drive from his home in the Philly suburbs to Kimmel Center. No one would be surprised if he showed up at the various fundraising galas that support area institutions.
But will current chief executive David Cordani drive down from Connecticut in his tux to dance at the Academy Ball? Hard to say, but I wouldn't put a lot of money on it.
Really, the most important thing is that Cigna says, at least for the moment, that it will retain its current 1,100 jobs in Philadelphia. You can read my story by clicking here. That's what really matters, no doubt about it. Still...
Years ago, when I wrote for the North Penn Reporter in Lansdale, I had the job of covering "Club News N Notes," which was essentially a rewrite of the minutes of various women's groups around the area. It was a more traditional time, and many of the women who ran these organizations were married to the region's executives. At first, being young, superior and in my 20s, I rolled my eyes at their luncheons and little activities, but eventually I began to understand the subtext.
These women were bright, capable people, clearly able to influence their husbands' philanthropic behavior. The connections they made over ladies' luncheons translated into benefits for the entire community. Doylestown Hospital, for example, was initially founded by these kind of civic-minded women who had the wealth and leisure to make a difference.
So Cigna's official giving happens through the Cigna Foundation, based here. Good. It will, somewhat, reflect the company's corporate strategy. But what about the personal energy and prestige contributed by the company's chief executive, his family and others in the top brass?
That's the unofficial loss that happens when corporate headquarters move.