ACCOUNTING FOR CH A N GE EMBODYING CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP, ROB ARNING (ACCOUNTING, ’84) IS FOSTERING SOCIETAL IMPROVEMENT THOUGH BUSINESS INNOVATION AND EDUCATION AS THE CHAIR OF THE KPMG FOUNDATION
f Rob Arning never spoke a word about the importance of helping others and giving back, neither casual acquaintances nor those who know him best would have trouble affirming the high priority he places on these values. Arning currently serves as KPMG Client Care Executive and leads Corporate Citizenship at the Big Four firm. He was also named KPMG Foundation Chairman over two years ago, after previously serving as the Vice Chair of Market Development. The Foundation role is a perfect fit for the magnanimous executive, whose extensive volunteer work includes prominent organizations such as Carnegie Hall, along with non-profits that serve New Yorkers by improving business, education and disaster relief, such as City Harvest, the Association for a Better New York, PENCIL and New York Says Thank You Foundation. Despite more than thirty years at the firm, Arning is still discovering more about KPMG’s philanthropic efforts in his new position. “What’s changed for me is my awareness and appreciation for how our KPMG people actually impact their communities,” he said. “I’ve always been proud and well aware that the firm did an awful lot around volunteerism and giving, but it’s become really clear to me that the dedication and commitment of KPMG and our people is extraordinary. That’s been an exciting ah-ha moment for me over the past 18 months.” The KPMG Foundation’s programs align with KPMG’s commitment to lifelong learning and the communities in which it serves. Some of the more prominent initiatives include: • KPMG Family for Literacy (KFFL), the firm’s flagship pro-
LIUMAGAZINE | December 2019
gram aimed at fighting childhood illiteracy. KFFL recently distributed its five millionth book to Title I schools. • The Matching Gift Program, which supports colleges and universities through student scholarships, curriculum and faculty development, totaling nearly $10 million in 2019. • KPMG Disaster Relief Fund, which raised $2 million for the hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. • The PhD Project, a national initiative to increase workplace diversity by increasing the number of Black/ African American, Latino/Hispanic American and Native American business school PhDs who will mentor the next generation of leaders. The Foundation also provides administrative support for the KPMG New York Metro Fund and the PGA/Future Leaders Program, which serves to mentor young high school women and support them through college. Although the firm sets a national example, Arning believes the benevolent trend is sweeping the nation. “It’s one of the great things that’s really gaining momentum in the private sector today. That is, people and organizations want to make a difference,” he said. “They want to feel like there’s a purpose to what they do every day. The people at KPMG personify that. They want to work for an organization that is purposeful, well-meaning, making a difference in the communities around us and dealing with the social challenges and issues facing our country.” Growing up in Astoria, Queens, Arning saw hard work and selfless behavior modeled by his parents at an early age.