SAN DIEGO, Dec. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Encore Capital Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ECPG), a leading provider of debt recovery solutions for consumers and property owners across a broad range of assets, has announced its new global philanthropic corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. The company's CSR efforts will focus on economic empowerment and helping consumers and communities that are most in need take control of their financial futures through better education, job training and basic support services. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131107/LA13022LOGO) The initiative is built around three core pillars: global grants, volunteerism and matching gifts. Encore will provide grants to non-profit organizations around the globe that support economic empowerment, as well as organizations that support Encore's community relations efforts. Employees will be able to give back by volunteering at company-sponsored events or supporting their own causes using Volunteer Time Off away from the office. Encore will also match a portion of employee donations to eligible non-profits. Ultimately, the CSR team will collaborate with Encore's Consumer Credit Research Institute (CCRI) to better understand the distressed consumer and how the company can best drive long-term, sustainable change that helps these individuals and their communities. "Encore's industry-leading Consumer Bill of Rights pledged our commitment to do right by our consumers. Those guiding principles say a lot about how we work and who we are," said Ken Vecchione, Encore's president and CEO. "We're confident that through our corporate social responsibility program, we will once again set a new standard for our industry and ourselves." To launch the CSR initiative, approximately 400 Encore employees and family members across 12 offices in the United States, India and Costa Rica participated in a global Volunteer Day in their local communities. Twelve non-profits sharing Encore's economic empowerment vision, including Habitat for Humanity, Literacy India, and the Ronald McDonald House, benefited from a collective 2,000 Encore volunteer hours devoted to projects like building homes, refurbishing apartments and painting schools. "We believe that our business success is tied to the success of our efforts to strengthen the economic, social, and cultural fabric of our communities, which is why this CSR initiative is so important," said Marianne Campbell, Encore's director of Corporate Social Responsibility and a volunteer with the San Diego team. "The global Volunteer Day was just the beginning of our work, and I'm thrilled to see the enthusiasm for broader program." "This united, global initiative brings all of us together to create positive, long term change," said Vecchione. "Our unique understanding of consumer behavior provides us with the insights needed to generate solutions that benefit our consumers in the communities where we live and work."