When Masaaki Morita went to the United States in 1987, he decided to restructure Sony Corporation of America's operations to enhance the company's capabilities, including manufacturing and R&D, and make the company contribute to U.S. export efforts. "At the same time, he worked to persuade the staff of SONAM to work for "the company community, and country."
With the opening of the San Diego plant in 1972, Sony created the Sony Foundation of Science and Education with the goal of becoming a respected corporate citizen in the United States. The Sony Foundation began to promote education, health-care, and community activities as well as providing support and assistance to minority groups. It was the first such welfare-oriented foundation to be established in the United States by a Japanese company. In 1987, Sony founded the Innovator's Awards, an annual ceremony to award aspiring Afro-American artists who have shown outstanding talent in music and the visual arts. In his opening speech at the first ceremony held in 1988, music producer Quincy Jones stated that it was encouraging that a large firm like Sony was providing Afro-American artists a chance to be introduced to the entire nation.
Sony has also provided assistance for university education. In 1989, the University of Illinois announced it would create a Bardeen Chair in commemoration of the work of the 1972 Nobel Prize winner for physics, John Bardeen. Upon hearing the news, Sony volunteered to provide financial assistance for the project. Sony wanted to honor a scientist who had made the invention of the transistor possible, an event that had changed Sony's history, and to provide support to further physics research efforts at the University of Illinois.
In 1990, when Sony Corporation of America celebrated its 30th anniversary, Sony decided to step up contributions aimed at encouraging the education of young men and women. That was the beginning of the Sony Student Program Abroad (SSPA), under which 50 U. S. high school students are brought to Japan each year and taken on a tour of Sony's manufacturing facilities, enabling them to get a first hand glimpse of Japan's high-tech industries. In addition, students are given an opportunity to experience Japanese culture through home stays with Japanese families. To date, the SSPA program has given a total of 350 students the chance to visit Japan.
Europe boasts a rich history and a long-standing tradition of artistic and cultural achievements, and Sony has been concentrating on providing whatever assistance it can in these fields. Specifically, Sony has provided financial assistance for the restoration of the Leonardo da Vinci statue in Milan and for additional construction at the Louvre Museum of Art in Paris among other projects.
In the early 1990s, Sony also stepped up such activities in Asia. In Beijing, Sony initiated the scholarship program for university students, and in Singapore, SPEC participated in local charity fundraising activities. Sony was the first Japanese company in Singapore to be awarded the Outstanding Corporate Citizen Award by the Singaporean government.
In Japan, Ibuka had created the Sony Science Education Foundation in the 1950s, now known as the Sony Science Education Promotion Fund, to help foster the study of science among children. This activity was transferred to the Sony Foundation for Science and Education, established in 1972. Under the current management of Hisanaga Shimazu, the foundation reached its fortieth anniversary in 1995. A total of five-thousand schools in Japan have so far received donations in terms of funds and equipment. In 1984, Sony established the Sony Music Foundation to sponsor a variety of programs in order to popularize the appreciation of music and develop young talented artists.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Sony eagerly promoted its global localization program, spreading its operations to Europe, the United States, and Asia. Through the establishment of these foundations, Sony and Sony subsidiaries have come to respect and understand the traditions, cultures and problems that confront the local communities where they operate. Sony has continuously strived to become a good corporate citizen in these communities, while promoting international communication and cooperation that spans many borders.