corporate philanthropy

A Lesson in Corporate Philanthropy

By: Therese
Therese participated in Allowance for Good's Spring 2016 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy class in the Elmhurst location.

"I am a Catalyst for Good because...
I believe all people have the right to
be educated no matter what
the situation." - Therese

Corporate philanthropy is when a business helps others in need by donations or by spending time. I learned that companies can cause a positive change because they can help others, encourage other companies and consumers to help others that are in need. In addition, corporate philanthropy can help a community to become involved in a cause by using their products or bringing the company together by physically helping out others. In addition, being a corporate sponsor provides a positive image for the company itself, which leads to more sales and tax benefits. When I am in the working world, I would make sure that the company (or my company) would donate or support an organization and do physical work to help out those who need help. Overall, corporate philanthropy is important because it gets large companies to help out smaller originations and others that need donations and action.

The Benefits of Corporate Philanthropy

By: Caroline
Caroline is a participant in our Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Explorers class.

Corporate philanthropy is a very effective and generous form of giving. Companies not only receive great public appeal but those whom they serve benefit best. Companies often have more financing, influence and industry than private donors or foundations that are better equipped to support large events like fundraisers, supply more volunteers or donate larger sums of money etc. Because each side gets something out of the interaction, this is a very just format. No one side is better than the other and each are partners instead of one being charitable and the other being weak. There are many different forms of philanthropy but corporate philanthropy is an increasingly popular form. I was aware of the different forms of philanthropy prior to ELP, but I had no idea all of the work that goes into each one. I have a much greater respect for philanthropy now I know it takes more than just writing a check. When I mentioned to my friend I was taking this class, she asked what could there be to learn about writing a check? It feels so great to have this knowledge of true philanthropy and share it with others. I thought I knew a handful of philanthropists but now I realize I know so many more. Philanthropists are not just the people who write the check but also the people who volunteer their time and talent. Corporate philanthropy is another incredible way to do good and the education of this is crucial to continuing its great work.

Corporate Philanthropy in Action

By: Arielle
Arielle is a participant in Allowance for Good's Winter 2015 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Explorers class.

The Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy course is not my first exposure to Allowance for Good. I spent a week of my 2014 summer in its Global Philanthropy Summit, a sort of crash course in Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship. After that week I was hooked. I had always had a passion for philanthropy, inspired by pretty much everyone in my family. My Dad is in charge of Pro-Bono work at his law firm, my Mom works for two public health non-profits, and my Aunt works in marketing for JUF, another non-profit. So, I was familiar with the concept of “giving back,” but I didn’t really know the details because no one sits a child down and explains the who, what, where, how, and why of philanthropy-- except of course AFG.

This past week we focused on socially responsible corporations, ranging from Warby Parker, which donates a pair of glasses for every single one of its products sold, to companies that encourage volunteering or match the donations of their employees. There are lots of ways that a company can fit philanthropy into its mission, and based on the rising popularity of socially responsible companies among consumers, not doing so could be devastating. In addition to these examples, there are still other ways to integrate philanthropy into a company: a corporation could use its brand name or money to raise awareness of an issue (for example, Always’ #likeagirl campaign); donate a portion of its yearly profits to a cause (e.g., Patagonia donates 1% of its profits to saving the environment); or implement specific ways to encourage volunteering, such as allowing employees days off to volunteer, offering the specialized services of the company for free, or providing other incentives (perhaps financial) for employees who volunteer.

After learning about the different ways corporate philanthropy is possible, we put the lesson into action. Our job was to determine how the hypothetical (or maybe future company run by AFG) bicycle company, “GetThere” should integrate philanthropy into its mission plan. The students split up into two groups and were joined by the board members, to make a plan. After going through a variety of ideas, my group settled on a bike safety program. This would involve teaming up with the local governments of our store locations to create bike paths, and providing free helmets to those who need one, but cannot afford one. This plan, if put into action, would have numerous benefits. Not only would there be a safer space for bikers, but the anxiety caused by bikers on the road would be reduced for drivers, and it would make GetThere a more sustainable company. With the danger of biking as transportation reduced, more people would bike, increasing the demand, and therefor the sales. This would also create a brand awareness for GetThere, hopefully bringing more bike-buyers to that store. This past week was a great one, and I am sure this information will come in handy when dealing with corporations.

Arielle, far left, brainstorms with her ELP classmates.

Philanthropy in the World: More Than One Meaning

By: Abby
Abby is a participant in Allowance for Good's Autumn 2014 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Explorers class. 

Although my time is limited in Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy (ELP), I have learned that philanthropy has more than one meaning. The literal meaning of philanthropy is "the desire to promote the welfare of others". The etymological meaning of philanthropy is "the love of humanity". Yet, as I sit here on a Tuesday night in Evanston, IL, writing this blog post, it has finally hit me: philanthropy is not restricted to the definition of a dusty dictionary sitting on my desk.

Last session, we continued studying the types of philanthropy in depth. We discussed two "main" types of philanthropy: corporate and venture. Venture philanthropy is focused on the willingness to take risks and experiment, having a long-term structure set up, and focus on direct engagement from the donors with their grantees. Corporate philanthropy is focused on the belief that a company needs to be responsible for its actions-ethically, socially, or environmentally. Also, corporate philanthropy is a huge supporter of corporate giving, which is a grant making program established in a profit-making company. it is from these programs that gifts or grants are distributed to charitable organizations. Learning about these two different types of philanthropy interested me a lot because it made me think about myself when I get older. I want to become involved in a company that are corporate philanthropists and give back to the community.

For the second half of the session, we had Allowance for Good Associate Board members Tife and Ryan talk with us about what we have learned so far. Tife grew up in Nigeria and then moved to Chicago later in life. The first company he worked for were "terrible philanthropists" (as he put it), meaning that they did not give back to the community and really did not involve themselves in it. However, when he received a new job at a real estate company, that completely changed. Tife informed us that at his job now, he receives an email once a month that asks what charity/organization he would like to donate to. His company matches tries their best to match his donation request and donates it to that company. Ryan, born and raised in Hinsdale, IL, is a credit analyst at Northern Trust. He told us a lot about his occupation and what he enjoys about work, but what really stuck with me were what he calls his "3 Pillars". They were:
1) Always, always, always stay curious.
2) Know your environment.
3) Know your limits & defy them...but also know your job/responsibility and do not become suffocated.

I know for a fact that these 3 pillars will help me grow as a young woman, student, philanthropist, and overall a human being. Staying curious is the beginning of a question, which leads to an interest, which leads to a passion. ELP has really been the beginning "question" phase for me. I have never been that passionate about any specific world problem; of course, I wanted to change them all. Coming to ELP has helped me realize that even though I may not have a certain passion now, there is always something I can do to help people in the world who are not as privileged as me.

I know this is going to sound very cliche, but there is only one world humans live in (unless we magically find Earth's twin in the universe). Humans are not the only beings on Earth, but we are the most powerful beings. It is our duty to help each other while protecting the ground we step on, the air we breath, and the grass we mow. So, to end the post the same way as Ryan ended our session, "We are rich through only what we give. We are poor through only what we refuse."

Abby stands in front of her favorite leadership quote during an activity in ELP: Explorers.

Inspiration and Fresh Perspective at Google Chicago

By: Riley
Riley participated in Allowance for Good's summer 2014 Global Philanthropy Summit program. 

I was lucky enough to take part in the Global Philanthropy Summit last week.  It was a riveting and insightful experience, and I now feel like a more engaged citizen!

Thursday was definitely the most exciting day of our week, with several important activities in downtown Chicago.  After taking the train in from Evanston, we trekked downtown and settled in our destination.  Soon after we arrived, so did our presenters: representatives from A Better Chicago, a venture philanthropy group, and one of its funded programs.  They told us all about the great projects they were involved in currently, and where they hope their programs will be in the future.  The impact that these programs had made on the community of Chicago and its young people was obvious.  It was inspiring for us to be presented with some of the greatest philanthropic work going on in Chicago!

After the presentation, we walked to Google's Chicago headquarters, probably the highlight of our week at the GPS.  This was definitely my personal favorite place we visited in our two days downtown.  Besides taking a tour of Google's progressively-designed workplace and its fascinating employees, we participated in a Google+ Hangout with an AFG affiliate at Liger Learning Centre.  We also learned about all of Google's philanthropic work, which was simply amazing.  Google already has a reputation as a very socially responsible business, and its philanthropy was no exception to this principle.  The company has helped get thousands of people out of slavery, donated technology, and otherwise helped people in ways big and small.

I cannot describe how personally inspiring the visit to Google was for me.  The trip taught me that philanthropy can truly be on any scale and that even helping a few people is great philanthropic work.  Google's work with spreading technology and knowledge about it showed great promise for the future of the world and technological progress in it.  Google has encouraged me to be more aware of the world around me and to use my skills to help the people that I can.

I'd like to thank everyone who worked to make the GPS happen and my classmates for making the entire week a great experience for us all!