Corporate Giving Programs and Foundations

Corporate Philanthropy refers to the investments and activities a company voluntarily undertakes to responsibly manage and account for its impact on society. It includes investments of money, donations of products, in-kind services and technical assistance, employee volunteerism, and other business transactions to advance a social cause, issue, or the work of a nonprofit organization. Corporate foundations and corporate giving programs traditionally play a major role in these areas.

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The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We hear that phrase and understand that the most difficult tasks are accomplished one step at a time, with resolve and long-term dedication. And I would add, with the help of each other.

At Dow, we see our 29-year partnership with Habitat for Humanity as this kind of a journey. It is an employee volunteering. A donation of our building materials. A financial gift that enables a construction project. All aligned for a bigger mission to provide safe, affordable housing all over the world.

Every year, International Corporate Philanthropy Day is observed on the last Monday in February to “raise awareness of corporate-community partnerships and inspire businesses around the world to engage further.” But did you know that the three most important words in the previous sentence are corporate-community partnerships?

I’m just back from an incredible visit to the Angkor Temple complex in Cambodia. It’s an area I’ve wanted to visit for some time, and I also have the added benefit of being able to see American Express philanthropic dollars at work there.

Alcoa and Alcoa Foundation announced combined community giving of $38 million in 2011, compared with $36.8 million in 2010. The annual giving results were released in recognition of International Corporate Philanthropy Day, which celebrates business-community partnerships around the world.

TIME magazine provocatively named “The Protester” as its 2011 “Person of the Year” for its riveting influence on last year’s social and political unfolding in Egypt, Syria, and Wall Street. As courageous citizens connected with each other to express dissent and organize public actions, social media tools spurred activism and social change in unprecedented ways.

Chalk up my vote for 2011’s “Best Debut Artist” and “Best Supporting Actor.” 

It’s International Corporate Philanthropy Day, when the business community celebrates achievements in philanthropy and corporate community partnerships. At General Mills, we’re celebrating by releasing the results of our global volunteer survey, which shows that our employees, no matter where they work around the world, are deeply committed to improving the lives of our neighbors in the communities where we work and live.

There has never been a more challenging time for philanthropy. Globalization, natural disasters, and economic turmoil have placed additional stresses on social safety nets already stretched to the max. In this environment, the philanthropic sector must be smarter, more adaptable, and more collaborative.

This post first appeared on the HBR Blog Network.

More and more, companies are building long-term commitments to corporate social responsibility (CSR). In 2012 the rise in consumer activism and mobility, the Occupy movement, 24-hour accountability (thanks to social media), and global resource depletion will force every enterprise, large and small, to make CSR a focal point. Four particular areas stand out among many.

by Brenda Chumley

On behalf of the entire team at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, I'd like to wish everyone a happy Community Foundation Week! We're pleased to celebrate by sharing how we work with other community foundations across the country.

At ING, we have developed a strong corporate responsibility (CR) program that is enhanced through engagement in all levels of our company.  What have we learned? Buy-in and communications are important on a variety of levels. Tying CR directly to the CEO is critical. A CR program with strong support from the CEO and board will strengthen the company’s reputation, promote transparency, and increase profits.

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