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120 posts categorized "Corporate Philanthropy"

Weekend Link Roundup (March 15-16, 2014)

March 16, 2014

Gopher_I_LiedOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector. Enjoy....

Communications/Marketing

Guest blogging on Nancy Schwartz' Getting Attention blog, Julie Brown, program director at the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation in Ohio, shares the steps she and a colleague have taken over the last year to achieve "storytelling success" and boost donor engagement at the foundation.

Community Improvement/Development

On the Huffington Post's Black Voices blog, Ashley Wood, Detroit editor for the HuffPo, takes a closer look at the hipsters-are-taking-over-Detroit narrative and uncovers a fascinating (and more nuanced) conversation. As Meagan Elliott, an urban planner and Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Michigan, says at the end of the piece: "I think everyone is open to change. That's what makes the conversation interesting. Everyone recognizes that things need to change here."

Corporate Philanthropy

In Fast Company, Stephanie Vozza explains why every company should pay its employees to volunteer.

Data

Writing on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog, Foundation Center president Brad Smith looks at the three types of data (transactional, contextual, impact) foundations need and suggests that "for strategic philanthropy to realize its true potential, foundations need to learn how to manage information (data) to produce and share knowledge. Doing so," adds Smith, "will depend on changing internal incentive systems, in which foundations employ static data primarily as means for approving strategies and monitoring grants."

Giving

Nice infographic on the npEngage site illustrating highlights of Blackbaud's 2013 Charitable Giving Report. Click here to download (registration required) a copy of the report, which includes overall giving data from 4,129 nonprofit organizations representing more than $12.5 billion in total fundraising and online giving data from 3,359 nonprofits representing $1.7 billion in online fundraising.

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Weekend Link Roundup (November 23-23, 2013)

November 24, 2013

Holiday_cornucopiaBrrrr. The weather outside is frightful. Good evening to stay indoors and catch up with this week's best posts and articles from and about the social sector....

Aging

Every day in America, 10,000 people turn 65 -- and that won’t stop for the next 22 years, Robert Egger, founder of the DC Central Kitchen and CForward, reminds us in the Nonprofit Times. Is your nonprofit ready? To answer that question, you have to understand three things:

  1. Members of the current "older generation" are a prideful generation and tend to avoid asking for charitable assistance, even when it is a right;
  2. In their earning years, they were more financially responsible and prone to saving money and avoiding credit card debt; and
  3. The charitable sector is struggling to meet current demand.

If your nonprofit is "struggling to serve the current 'hesitant to ask/got a little set aside' older generation," Eggers adds, "what happens when a new generation of elders -- a generation with less money set aside for their later years, who are less hesitant to ask for support, and more demanding in expectations -- begins to show up?" What happens, indeed.

Corporate Philanthropy

CECP has released Giving Around the Globe (20 pages, PDF; registration required), an analysis the global contributions of multinational companies in 2012. According to our story in PND, the sixty companies included in the report gave a total of $6.8 billion in cash and non-cash donations in 2012, with median giving of roughly $29 million. The survey also found that companies tended to favor giving in neighboring countries and emerging markets, with India topping the list of countries receiving contributions from the most companies, followed by Canada, China, and Mexico.

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Valley Boys

November 08, 2013

(Andrew Grabois is manager of corporate philanthropy at the Foundation Center. In his last post, he wrote about the addition of corporate sustainability data to Foundation Directory Online.)

Women_on_tech_boardsMuch has been written about Twitter's IPO -- including analyses of the social media company's revenues, profits, share price, and even the stylistic turns of its S-1 prospectus. What you don't see, however, are articles or blog posts lamenting the complete absence of corporate philanthropy at the company. After all, Twitter, as the company's execs write in its prospectus summary, has "democratized content creation and distribution, enabling any voice to echo around the world instantly and unfiltered." With such an empowering, public-spirited mission, why should Twitter -- or any Silicon Valley high-flyer, for that matter -- concern itself with charitable giving or other aspects of corporate social responsibility?

The answer is that Twitter will never truly "democratize content creation and distribution" until it practices what it preaches. In that respect, it has a ways to go. For instance, more than a few people have noticed that Twitter doesn't have any women on its board of directors. And it's not alone. A well-traveled infographic created by Jim Cooke of Gawker shows that Twitter is one of four tech companies without a single female on the board -- and the other dozen companies included in the infographic scarcely do better. Taken together, the companies on Gawker's list averaged slightly more than one out of ten (13 percent) women on their boards, with those sitting at least one woman averaging closer to two out of ten (17 percent). Abysmally low, to be sure, but only marginally lower than the 14 percent reported by GMI Ratings in 2013 for S&P 1500 public companies and the 17 percent for Fortune 500 companies in 2012 as reported by Catalyst.

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Foundations as a Catalyst for Improved Health Outcomes

October 25, 2013

(Garth Graham, MD, MPH, is president of the Aetna Foundation, which works to strengthen disease prevention programs, revitalize neighborhoods, support the arts, provide assistance to those in need, and empower the diverse voices that shape our nation.)

Headshot_garth_grahamThrough grants and support for research, foundations are uniquely positioned to serve as catalysts for social change in a way that conventional businesses and other nonprofits are not. We also operate in a space that provides us with the rare opportunity to bring together policy makers, corporations, experts, and community organizations to look holistically at an issue and promote the changes needed to achieve our goals.

As a physician and in my new role as the president of the Aetna Foundation, I am reminded every day of the responsibility my colleagues and I have to improve the health of children and adults and to make our healthcare system more equitable and effective. Over the years, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have strengthened disease prevention programs, helped revitalize neighborhoods, supported the arts, provided aid to those in need, and listened to the diverse voices that shape our nation.

In addition to promoting racial and ethnic equity in health and promoting integrated and well-coordinated health care, one of our priority areas is fighting obesity. While childhood obesity rates in the U.S. are starting to level off, 5 percent of American children and teens are severely obese, which, according to new information from the American Heart Association, puts them at risk for premature heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

We have worked, for example, to better understand and evaluate how changes in food access and choice affect consumption patterns and health outcomes. We have funded partners who look at different parts of the food supply chain to help us understand how best to influence positive behavior changes related to healthy eating. And through strategic partnerships with a range of organizations, we have been able to gather data about how these programs work.

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Mobilizing for Good

September 25, 2013

(Todd Woodward is vice president of brand, public relations, and corporate social responsibility at Amway.)

Headshot_todd_woodwardAt my office at Amway World Headquarters, I am surrounded by photographs of children from all over the world who've been helped by the Amway One by One Campaign for Children -- a young child receiving a life-saving series of immunizations for the first time, a sick child in a playroom built just for patients like him in a hospital in rural Russia, and others in different yet similar situations. What they have in common is that they received critically needed services and support thanks to Amway, its business owners, and employees who live, work, and play in communities around the globe, from the West Michigan town where our company was founded more than fifty years ago to a small fishing port in rural China.

What Amway does best is mobilize people toward a goal. In our business model, an Amway business owner is rewarded for selling products and for mentoring others eager to earn income doing the same; by working together to achieve sales targets, the group also wins bonuses. Isn't philanthropy a lot like that? What starts as a commitment to give and a philosophy that we have something of value to offer others -- money, time, or expertise -- simply grows into a movement.

The Amway One by One Campaign for Children started ten years ago when we realized that most of the markets where we'd been doing business for years had individually embraced children's causes. Amway business owners and employees around the globe were taking the initiative to make a difference in children's lives -- starting an afterschool program for at-risk middle-schoolers, buying desks for students who had none, or bringing play to hospitals for terminally ill children. Together, we have helped more than ten million children by donating $190 million in funding and 2.7 million volunteer hours.

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Weekend Link Roundup (September 21-22, 2013)

September 22, 2013

Four_seasonsOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Corporate Philanthropy

Corporate support can be a key factor in securing your organization's future, but many of you may be lost when it comes to attracting and keeping such support. Not to worry. Guest blogging on Beth Kanter's blog, Simon Manwaring, CEO of We First, shares a seven-step plan designed to help you do just that.

Fundraising

Nonprofits want to be loved, and they especially want to be loved by their donors. How can they make that happen? Start by loving your donors back, writes Jeff Brooks on his Future Fundraising Now blog. "Focus on them. Obsess about them. Seek ways to understand, serve and please them."

Healthcare

On the Collective Impact blog, Christine Kendall, a senior consultant at FSG, argues that, like it or not, the Affordable Care Act, is going "to drastically change healthcare in America as it is rolled out over the next five years." And for organizations in the healthcare space, "[b]eing ahead of the healthcare reform curve means moving from symptoms, diseases, and working in isolation to thinking about health determinants, systems change, and collaboration."

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Creating Enduring Value at a Corporate Foundation: Bridging the Gap Between Brand and Cause

September 04, 2013

(Christine Park is president of the New York Life Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the New York Life Company. Since its inception in 1979, the foundation has made nearly $170 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofits.)

Headshot_chris_parkOver more than twenty years as a corporate grantmaker, few things have left a deeper and more lasting impression on me than the professionalism, commitment to change, and caring of my colleagues in the world of corporate foundations. Of course, having the type of meaningful, long-term impact we all aspire to is easier said than done.

Effecting social change as a corporate foundation head can be challenging -- but the ability to make a difference is enormous when you can marshal the attention and resources of your organization, deploy them in a way that is focused, innovative and flexible, and work in true partnership with your grantees. At the New York Life Foundation, we've been able to do just that through an innovative, business-aligned, and issues-focused advocacy approach. To clarify: our approach is not about engaging in Advocacy in the traditional sense -- that is, politically focused efforts to influence public policy or resource allocation decisions on issues where there are frequently divergent points of view. Instead, we practice advocacy with a lower case "a" -- with a focus on raising awareness, education, and public concern for issues where there is a clear and compelling need and little rational dispute as to the merits of the issue. I'd like to share the story of one such campaign.

* * * *

It has been estimated that one in seven Americans lose a parent or sibling before age 20. The death of a loved one is incredibly hard and isolating for children, engendering feelings of sadness, anger, loneliness, confusion, and guilt -- emotions that all too often are suffered in isolation.

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Weekend Link Roundup (August 17-18, 2013)

August 18, 2013

SandcastleOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Civil Rights

On the Library of Congress blog, Erin Allen chats with Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), one of the leaders of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, about the fiftieth anniversary of the march.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Peter Buffett's op-ed about the "charitable-industrial complex" in the New York Times a few weeks back continues to generate comment -- supportive (here, here, here, and here) and critical (here, here, here, and here). Writing on the Huff Post business blog, Margaret Coady, executive director of CECP (formerly the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy), characterizes Buffett's musings as "a mix of insightful and simplistic observations," while applauding his warning not to confuse prosperity with "the blind accumulation of material goods." The good news, adds Coady,

is that CEOs of large multinational companies are working on a version of Buffett's challenge. In other words: the very individuals heading up "the industrial complex" assumed by many to be 'the bad guys' are, in their way, laser focused on creating greater prosperity for all.

Don't mistake me. These CEOs are obsessive about bottom-line growth -- which depends on consumerism. But they are awakening to benefits of replacing "quarterly capitalism" (which has led many companies to disregard their negative social and environmental externalities) with "long-term capitalism" (which takes greater responsibility for the effect the company has on the world). Increasingly, these CEOs are committing to sustainable, investor-friendly alternatives to a zero-sum version of capitalism. That doesn't fully meet Peter Buffet's goal, but I'd argue that it is meaningful progress....

Data

It's a widely accepted truism that the era of open data is upon us. But not all data is created equal, and its use, like so many things, is subject to abuse. Writing on the Markets for Good blog, Andy Isaacson, an engineer at Palantir Technologies, argues that with "[open] data comes great responsibility, both to make the information usable, and also to protect the privacy and civil liberties of the people involved." The goal, he adds, "is, or should be, about the democratization of data, allowing anybody on the web to extract, synthesize, and build from raw materials -- and effect change."

Beth Kanter has a useful post on the top ten chart secrets of data nerds.

And while we're on the subject, do you know the seven deadly sins of data analysis? The Whole Whale does, and they include: Pride ("thinking you know better than the data"), Sloth ("being lazy and only analyzing one metric"), and Gluttony ('converting too many data into too many dashboards").

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Skills-Based Volunteerism: Setting a New Standard for Corporate Community Impact

July 12, 2013

(Nicole Stein is vice president of community responsibility at Umpqua Bank, where she oversees strategic charitable giving, associate volunteerism, financial literacy initiatives, and environmental sustainability issues.)

Headshot_nicole-steinThe old adage "Do what you love; the money will follow" has long sparked debate over the interplay between professional success and personal happiness -- and how to marry the two in an authentic way. The ongoing evolution of the corporate philanthropy landscape suggests a possible answer.

Companies are looking for ways to differentiate themselves, engage their clients and customers, attract and retain high-quality employees, and inspire action that creates positive change in their communities and around the world. Employees, too, want their jobs to make a positive difference -- not just in their chosen professional fields but also in their communities. Studies have shown that volunteering and serving others makes us happier. The act of giving back and engaging in activities one is passionate about also inspires us to incorporate those actions into our daily lives, including our work lives. It shouldn't surprise anyone that Talent Report: What Workers Want in 2012, a new report from Net Impact, found that 65 percent of college graduates entering the job market expected to make an environmental or social impact through their jobs, while 45 percent said they would be willing to take a pay cut for a position that makes that possible.

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Weekend Link Roundup (July 6-7, 2013)

July 07, 2013

Summer_in_the_cityOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Corporate Philanthropy

Triple Pundit's Andrea Newell chats with Michelle Crozier Yates of Adobe about the company's sustainability program, which focuses on green building. Over the last ten years, says Yates, Adobe has "implemented more than 100 sustainability projects across our real estate portfolio,...from conservation strategies, [to] renewable energy investments...[and] carbon reduction projects, [to] employee education and engagement programs...."

Writing on Google's blog, Zanoon Nissar recaps the search giant's 2013 GoogleServe program, which saw 8,500 employees from more than 75 Google offices participate in some 500 community projects. "Over the past six years, GoogleServe has transformed from a single week of service into a week of celebration and inspiration for ongoing giving," writes Nissar. "Googlers also give back year-round through our GooglersGive programs, which include 20 hours of work time annually to volunteer with an approved charitable organization."

Fundraising

Future Fundraising Now blogger Jeff Brooks shares a list of e-mail copy mistakes to avoid, including forgetting to make your case and writing like a robot.

Nonprofit Management

With lots of people still talking about The Overhead Myth, an initiative launched by GuideStar, Charity Navigator, and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance to get people to move beyond "overhead" -- the percentage of its budget that any charity spends on administrative costs -- as the most important measure of organizational performance, the Nonprofits Assistance Fund's Kate Barr argues that the real issue isn't overhead at all -- "it’s about stewardship." And good stewards "invest appropriately in [their] organizations....Maybe," Barr adds, "we need...new terminology to bust the 'overhead' term along with the myth.

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Protecting Nature Is the Smartest Investment We Can Make

April 10, 2013

(Mark Tercek is president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy and co-author of the book Nature's Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature).

Headshot_mark_tercekIn my work for the Nature Conservancy, I think a lot about how we can do more. How can we unlock new sources of capital, enlist more people to support our cause, and develop new alliances that will enable us to conserve nature at a scale never before achieved?

In my view, the answer is in putting ourselves in others' shoes -- whether those of a sugarcane grower in Colombia, a trawl fisher in California, or the executive of a global manufacturing company -- and focusing on why nature is important and valuable to them.

A simple but elegant solution to an environmental challenge in Colombia demonstrates this approach -- an approach that is leading to exciting new ways of structuring, funding, and discussing environmental nonprofit interventions.

The Project

In October 2011 I met with a group of sugarcane growers in Bogota, Colombia. They were warm and gracious hosts, affable dinner companions, and extremely proud of their beautiful lands and their booming business. They didn't see the world exactly the same way I do and they certainly didn't think of themselves as environmentalists. But they did agree with me on a simple point -- it makes great sense to invest in nature to protect water supplies.

Over the past decade, Colombia's sugarcane growers have become increasingly concerned about water supply in the Cauca Valley, situated near the country's Pacific coast and one of the richest cane-growing regions in the world. The farmers there need abundant water to irrigate their enormous fields.

The solution we arrived at together: protect the water supply by protecting the forested watersheds that feed the Cauca River.

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Redefining Today’s Business Landscape: A Q&A With David Vidal, Corporate Sustainability Thought Leader

March 12, 2013

Headshot_David_VidalDavid J. Vidal, a leading expert on the role of business in society, has over the course of a forty-year career served as a senior fellow with the Conference Board Initiative on Sustainability, as vice president at the Council on Foreign Relations, as assistant vice president at Continental Insurance, and as director of public affairs for the Partnership for New York City, a CEO-led civic, housing, and education group. Vidal also is active in industry leadership activities as a member of the judge's panel of the CERES-ACCA Sustainability Reporting Awards, the Newsweek/Daily Beast Green Rankings Advisory Panel, the Giving USA Advisory Council on Methodology, and the U.S. Advisory Council of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Recently, Michael Seltzer, distinguished lecturer at the Baruch College School of Public Affairs and a frequent contributor to PhilanTopic, spoke with Vidal about the corporate sustainability landscape.

Philanthropy News Digest: Corporate engagement in society appears to be in tremendous flux, partly as a result of greater demands for corporate accountability. From your vantage point, what's going on in CEO suites?

David Vidal: The corporate contributions function has been overtaken by the broader business social accountability movement. Forward-looking business leaders are concerned today with a growing array of stakeholders and publics. Yesterday's focus on solely producing shareholder value is no longer sufficient. If you open a corporate annual report today, you will more often see a letter from the CEO addressed to shareholders and stakeholders.

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2012 Year in Review: Underserved Communities Targeted for Larger Share of Philanthropic Pie

December 31, 2012

Pnd_yearinreview_2012The amount of money flowing to nonprofit organizations serving underserved populations and communities of color, and the number of private funders backing such programs, continued to grow in 2012, even as support for those communities from other sources was declining.

Over the course of the year, a number of foundations announced multimillion-dollar commitments to programs designed to address the needs of underserved communities and communities of color. They included the Ford Foundation, which announced a commitment of $100 million over ten years to extend its Ford Fellows program to young scholars from traditionally underrepresented groups; the Lumina Foundation, which awarded $11.5 million to thirteen partnerships working to increase college graduation rates among Latino-American students; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which announced an investment of $9.5 million over three years to improve the health and success of boys of color; and the California Community Foundation, which launched a multimillion-dollar initiative to expand educational and employment opportunities for African-American teenage boys in Los Angeles.

A number of corporate grantmakers also stepped up their support for underserved populations. They included Walmart, which through its foundation awarded $3.35 million to six women's foundations working to help economically vulnerable women achieve financial and economic security; AT&T, which announced a huge, $250 million commitment over five years to improve graduation rates among at-risk youth; and the UPS Foundation, which in February awarded $6 million to nearly a hundred and twenty organizations working to promote diversity and support underserved communities across the country and in June announced grants totaling $6.9 million to support the same kind of work globally.

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Weekend Link Roundup (December 29-30, 2012)

December 30, 2012

Happy_new_yearTo help mark the end of another eventful year, we've rounded up a dozen or so of our favorite "best of" and nonprofit trendspotting pieces. Have a list you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments section below.

Communications/Marketing

On her Non-Profit Marketing blog, Katya Andresen shares Trendwatching's list of consumer trends to keep an eye on and weighs in on what each could mean for nonprofits in 2013.

And in a two-part series on her Getting Attention blog (here and here), Nancy Schwartz lists the nonprofit marketing trends that are "must-dos" for your organization in 2013.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Kula CEO Gerrit McGowan looks back at some of the CSR high- and lowlights of 2012 -- and tells us what companies looking to take their CSR programs to the next level will be doing in 2013.

Innovation/Leadership

As it has it has for many years, Foreign Policy magazine closes out 2012 with an eclectic list of the top global thinkers -- a list that includes Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, George Soros, Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, novelists Haruki Murakami and Chinua Achebe, and Russian environmentalist Yevgenia Chirikova.

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Demystifying Corporate Responsibility Rankings

December 07, 2012

(Emily Keller is an editorial associate in the Corporate Philanthropy department at the Foundation Center. In November, she reviewed Roger Thurow's The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change.)

Csr_globeCorporations have long collected data generated by and/or relevant to their operations –- everything from sales figures, to permit applications, to industry trends and customer behavior. Increasingly, however, regulatory and watchdog groups are demanding that companies provide information about the impact of their activities on society and the environment.

As the corporate social responsibility (CSR) movement has gained traction, indices and lists that seek to quantify and rank company activities according to sustainability principles have proliferated. Financial analysts, media groups, and independent consultancies today produce annual assessments of everything from the amount of carbon companies put into the atmosphere to the sustainability of their supply chain management and the diversity of their boards. Those metrics, in turn, are often used by customers, investors, and prospective job candidates to determine their level of engagement with a particular company.

Earlier this year, the Foundation Center added a CSR tab to the company profiles in Foundation Directory Online that highlights nearly two dozen of these corporate sustainability ratings lists and presents basic information from them in a user-friendly format.

But in an emerging field characterized by a multiplicity of definitions and standards, even simple numbers can be hard to make sense of. Using hundreds of data points and a unique methodology, SustainAbility, an independent think tank and strategy consultancy, has taken it upon itself to "rate the raters" in order "to better understand the universe of external sustainability ratings and to influence and improve the quality and transparency of such ratings." As the firm is quick to note, many of these lists have been introduced within the last five years and there's plenty of room for improvement.

With that in mind, here are a few of the more prominent ratings lists/indices:

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