Archive for the ‘Corporate Philanthropy’ Category

I am always drawn to an essay that talks about how we are motivated to give, especially when the main character is a guide dog named Lucy. In a thoughtful and thought-provoking piece in the New York Times, Paul Sullivan shared a story about his, and his wife’s, support of groups involved with helping the [...]

Evolving the narrative. Leadership imperative. Our path forward.
Three simple, but important concepts discussed in yesterday morning’s corporate pre-conference forum at the Council on Foundations Annual Conference. Or as my friend, colleague, and recently retired IBM executive, Ann Cramer, said, “Stewarding our resources for the betterment of the world!”
This year’s session was a follow-up to [...]

As the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, and a veteran myself, the challenges those who serve face when they come home are topics near and dear to my heart.
There are so many ways to lean into this conversation. We can talk about mental health issues and the suicide rate within this population. According to a [...]

Today, 600,000 high-tech manufacturing jobs remain open in the United States and more than 82 percent of manufacturers report that these jobs are unfilled because they can’t find people with the necessary skills. More specifically, according to a Manufacturing Institute survey, there is a critical skills gap in advanced manufacturing. Jobs in this sector are [...]

With the explosion of private enterprise in many parts of the world, there are more wealthy people looking for ways to give back to their communities. Business leaders in areas like Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and China are exploring ways to contribute to society. A new school at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) [...]

Dental disease isn’t usually top of mind in the national conversation about health care. However, it is a serious, chronic, infectious illness—and it is preventable. Consider this:

Dental disease (cavities) is the most common chronic disease in children, more common than asthma.
Every year across the United States, children miss 52 million school hours due to dental [...]

As I continue to reflect on the Council’s recent publication, Increasing Impact, Enhancing Value: A Practitioner’s Guide to Corporate Philanthropy, I am reminded of author Chris Pinney’s suggestion that this is a leadership moment for corporate philanthropy. There are at least three reasons for this:

First, society is increasingly looking to [...]

Last week, The Merck Company Foundation launched a new three-year, $3 million initiative, the HIV Care Collaborative for Underserved Populations in the United States, to help the local health departments in Atlanta, Houston, and Philadelphia connect more people living with HIV/AIDS to the care they need to stay healthy.
Two years ago, the Obama administration laid [...]

A well-respected colleague and I recently had a troubling conversation.  While we agreed that we are entering into a new era of corporate philanthropy, we found ourselves in a circular conversation with no shared platform to speak from about our differing strategies to achieve the triple bottom line impact.
Following a year-long strategic initiative, The Council on [...]

With input from IBM and nine other leading companies, the Council on Foundations just launched an ambitious initiative to revitalize and redefine the roles of corporate foundations and philanthropy. Increasing Impact, Enhancing Value: A Practitioner’s Guide to Corporate Philanthropy establishes a roadmap to help those involved in corporate philanthropy dramatically increase its social and business [...]

Panels of talking heads during conferences are all well and good, especially when they are saying something of importance that we don’t know. However the audiences at Council on Foundations conferences often have knowledge and perspectives that are just as interesting as the speakers. At today’s session, “The Leadership Opportunity for Corporate Philanthropy,” three items [...]

Last year’s Council on Foundations Annual Meeting was held before the Occupy Wall Street movement highlighted the role and power of corporate America in this nation’s wealth divide. Even then, according to Chris Pinney of the Aspen Institute, one of the researchers behind the new Council report on corporate philanthropy, Increasing Impact, Enhancing Value: A [...]

The International Youth Foundation recently released a report that looks at the growing education and social challenges facing youth around the world. Commissioned by Microsoft, it underlines the emergence of an worldwide opportunity divide among young people.
At a time when we have 1.2 billion young people—the most at any point in history—there’s an urgent need to provide [...]

As the new year sprints forward, I am struck by the amount of new thinking and new literature surrounding the topic of corporate social responsibility, particularly philanthropy. In meteorological terms, a new weather front has arrived and continues to generate unsettling conditions.
As it is, grantmakers struggle to remain current in the management and stewardship of [...]

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 [...]

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?
Cisco has a nearly 30-year history of making philanthropic contributions. [...]

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.
Historic preservation is one of our company’s long-standing funding areas. It isn’t hard [...]

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.
“International Corporate Philanthropy Day is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to a model of ‘shared value [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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.
None of us has all the answers, but some innovative approaches to giving [...]

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 [...]

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.
In 2004, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation established the Greater Horizons brand. We did this for [...]

Every person, especially every child, should have a home. So nearly ten years ago, the community relations committee of Iowa Homeless Youth Centers (IHYC) was charged with creating a signature event, something to raise money for the cause and awareness of the issues related to youth homelessness.
It started with “Celebration of Hope — Pottery Painted [...]

Optimism is a scarce resource in this economic environment. Americans have all but given up on the idea that working hard and playing by the rules is the ticket to a better future. While the politicians duke it out, shouting hollow slogans about jobs and the economy, unemployment remains stuck above 9 percent, and 19 [...]

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 [...]

Corporate philanthropy functions are increasingly emphasizing return on investment (RoI) in their grantmaking. Understandably, corporate foundations want to use their funding, energy, and time as effectively as possible. But for the Pfizer Foundation, evaluation is a tool to help refine our grantmaking, not an end in itself.
At the Pfizer Foundation, we support our grantees’ experimentation and [...]

The Council on Foundations’ Corporate Philanthropy 2012 project calls for a “reinvention” of corporate philanthropy, in part through a core group of leaders/practitioners who are willing to “guide, adopt, test, and validate new management approaches.”
So often our ability to transform established approaches requires a convergence of opportunity and vision.
At the Medtronic Foundation, we’re experiencing this [...]

Major societal challenges-poverty, hunger, inconsistent access to high-quality education and health care-adversely affect hundreds of millions of people on our planet. The business community can play a vital role in addressing these complex problems. To make a meaningful contribution, businesses must evolve the way they think about the concept of corporate responsibility (CR). 
Modern CR is [...]

As the Council on Foundations plans for 2012, we’re looking for opportunities to partner with others to find effective ways to address the profound social and environmental challenges we all face. In addition, the Corporate Committee has been discussing the changing role of philanthropy as part of Corporate Philanthropy 2012. Here are some of the [...]

With the recent 104th anniversary of UPS (Aug. 28), I’ve been thinking about our founder, Jim Casey.  Jim taught us a lot.  His speeches and writings in the 1930s, 40s and 50s would make a best-selling business book if repackaged today.  Thomas Friedman…  Jim Collins…  Gary Hammel… all the other business gurus of today – Jim [...]

Recently, E*TRADE Financial renewed its partnership with, a nationwide, online mentoring program for at-risk middle and high school students, by providing a one-year grant of $300,000 to fund the organization’s online youth mentoring programs in low-income communities in New York City; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; San Diego; and Los Angeles.
Launched in 2000 to address the [...]

Collaboration. That’s a word I’m starting to hear more and more from people creating positive change in communities. Since joining the Council’s Public-Philanthropic Partnership Initiative as a summer associate, I’ve read a lot about partnerships between government and philanthropy.
Hearing these partnership stories helps me understand the power of this cross-sector collaboration. For this reason, I’m [...]

High-impact. Growth capital. Impact investing. Scaling markets. Sounds like a segment from the Nightly Business Report, doesn’t it? Not quite. I don’t often participate in a learning experience that makes me feel as if I’ve sat through a semester of business school. But that’s how I felt at the recent Social Impact Exchange Conference on [...]

Earlier this month, a group of corporate citizenship leaders representing a range of industries assembled in New York to answer this question: What must we do to transform the corporate philanthropy and corporate citizenship fields?
The context of the question comes at a time when business’ role in society has been fundamentally altered. Globalization and the [...]

We take great pride at Levi Strauss & Co. in ensuring the dignity, respect, and safe working conditions of not only our employees, but also the workers around the world who make our products. In fact, 20 years ago, we took the labor, health, safety, and environmental standards we used in our own factories and [...]

One of the things I’m working on at Kaiser Permanente ( is benchmarking my company’s philanthropic program against leading, well-managed, “best in class” foundations and corporate giving programs. We started the process with peers who are mostly from large corporations and independent foundations, and we’d like to broaden the circle.

In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama noted one of the core principles supporting the American journey: the idea that anyone can create something that can transform life as we know it. A week later, the administration announced the StartUP America Partnership, an alliance of corporations, foundations, universities, and thought leaders that [...]

Erie Insurance, a Fortune 500 corporation headquartered in my hometown, knows how to sell and service insurance policies through its network of agents in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Erie Insurance also knows that community foundations are smart and efficient grantmakers.

Since we announced a competitive grant program for cities about two weeks ago, we’ve received an outpouring of interest that has surprised even us at IBM.

Over 1,400 M∙A∙C makeup artists and employees in 30 countries and 120 North American cities will put down their makeup brushes on December 1. That’s when they’ll volunteer in a company-wide initiative taking place at various HIV/AIDS charities around the world to commemorate World AIDS Day. The initiative is organized to complement M∙A∙C’s longstanding commitment [...]

Seventeen years ago, I had the opportunity to take classes from the late Professor Jonathan Mann. As the head of the first Global Programme on AIDS—the precursor to UNAIDS—in the mid-80s, Mann is credited with pioneering the connections between human rights and health. He left an indelible mark on me, inspiring me to enter the [...]

As states continue to face declining revenues, shortfalls and drastic budget cuts, the impact is too often felt in the reduction or elimination of services to our most vulnerable citizens—abused, neglected, and abandoned children who linger in foster care in every community in the United States. Philanthropy must aggressively understand and assist in what can [...]

Foundations give away billions of dollars to address social and environmental issues each year. But making grants is not the only way that foundations can leverage their assets to promote change. As detailed in our white paper, Changing Corporate Behavior Through Shareholder Activism, the Nathan Cummings Foundation (NCF) has successfully used the funds invested in [...]

On October 10, 2010, IBM and service leaders around the world, including the Council on Foundations, launched the Service Jam—a historic Web-based town hall on redefining service, civic engagement, and social innovation. Thousands of passionate volunteers and professionals from nearly 120 countries have already logged on to the electronic conversation and begun posting their thoughts [...]

I’m the first to admit to being a remodeling fanatic. From floor plans to finishes to fixtures, I revel in this stuff. So when we remodeled our corporate headquarters at Levi Strauss & Co., I was excited to be one of those directly involved in the project.

Access to a quality education is key to ensuring that every child has the skills and resources needed to succeed in the workforce of the 21st century. That fact is one of the prime reasons the Verizon Foundation has chosen education as one of its signature social issues.

Something is afoot in corporate philanthropy. The evolution of business’ role in society—and the role of the foundation philanthropy within companies—is transitioning in real-time. The re-engineering occurring in all areas of business is finding its way into corporate philanthropy.  What is the next phase on the horizon for corporate philanthropy, and how can the field [...]

On March 11th, the world learned the sad news that three more significant aftershocks rattled the coast of Chile—the strongest ones since the original earthquake on February 27. That same morning, I moderated a roundtable in San Francisco that the Council on Foundations organized for corporate giving leaders to have a peer-to-peer exchange about global [...]

Recently, I blogged about Jeff Jarvis’ book, “What Would Google Do?” as it relates to our work at the Council. Jarvis stresses the power of networks and the importance of sharing information quickly. He points to Internet powerhouses like Facebook and Amazon that successfully connect people to one another, allowing them to share needs, knowledge, [...]

Let’s be frank: It’s been a tough year for corporate philanthropy. Against the backdrop of a global recession complete with bailouts, recalls, and eroding public trust of anything big business, many companies have re-examined their philanthropic purpose, approach, and impact. The good news? Corporate commitment to social issues remains strong. There is, however, a renewed [...]

My New Year’s resolution for 2010 was to join the 21st century and dive into the social media waters. This blog post is my first—and hopefully the first of several—to offer a perspective of philanthropy from where I sit at the Council on Foundations: working closely with the business community. I didn’t realize in December [...]

Philanthropy is different than charity. Traditionally, philanthropy reflects long-term strategic investments in creating real change. But in times of national and/or natural disaster, both respond in short-term ways that can be most helpful.
The recent devastation in Haiti reflects the kind of disasters that call philanthropy to action. We can and should do our part in [...]

Welcome to RE: Philanthropy! In this blog, guest and Council bloggers share ideas and insights on the most pressing issues in philanthropy. If you want to contribute, please contact

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Council on Foundations.


Pamela Hawley
John Anderson
Daniela Fainberg
Ira Strumwasser, Ph.D.
Dan Siegel and Jenny Yancey
Tim Walter
Ana Marie Argilagos
Dr. Nelson I. Colon Tarrats
Nicole Robinson
Kathryn Merchant
Craig Muska
John Tyler
Rick Cohen
Stuart Comstock-Gay
Michele McLellan
Steve Gunderson
Chatrane Birbal
Benna Wilde
Peter Berliner
Katie Loovis
Virginia Esposito
Anita Scism
Dale Robinson Anglin
Marco F. Cocito-Monoc
Monica Buhlig
Roxanne Joffe
Omar Brownson
Susan Patterson and Bahia Ramos Synnott
Robyn Schein
Victoria Dunning
Ashley Blanchard
Andrew Ho
Rick Mappin
Jim Canales
Josh Viertel
Bruce Trachtenberg
Rachael Gibson
Joop Rubens
Page Snow
Manikka L. Bowman
Lucas Orwig
Kristin Ivie
Jeff Pryor
Amy Philips Haller
Craig Cichy
Ophelia Basgal
Donna Svendsen
PJ Watters
Liz Braden