A New Direction for Corporate Philanthropy

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Has giving back become a trend amongst large corporations? Throughout the years, corporations have taken a new step in giving back to the global community.

This year, Forbes magazine reported (of the 115 companies that participated in the data collection) corporate giving increased by 4 percent. American corporate spending on public relations increased from $125 million dollars (1990) to an estimated $828 million dollars (2002). In most cases, philanthropy is used as a form of public relations or advertising, promoting a company’s brand. It’s been noticed that companies tend to give to causes that help their business, but also to help their customers. For example, the UnitedHealth Group, a health insurance company, donated $2 million dollars to the American Heart Association to create safe and accessible walking paths. Google donated over $115 million dollars to organizations and groups focusing on educations fields in science and math.

 

Philanthropy efforts sometimes extend beyond simple donations; some companies have ongoing giving efforts included in every purchase.

Philanthropy efforts sometimes extend beyond simple donations; some companies have ongoing giving efforts included in every purchase.

TOMS, after a customer purchase, not only donates a pair of new shoes to deserving children across the globe, they also find communities that will benefit most from receiving the shoes and where local businesses won’t be negatively affected. Moreover, TOMS donates eye-care services to those in need by way of their “One For One” program, when one person buys a pair of TOMS glasses, another person in need somewhere in the world receives much-needed eye care.

Burt’s Bees not only partners with Habitat for Humanity to build eco-friendly homes for disadvantaged families but the company is also working to develop sustainable packaging solutions. In 2007, the company established The Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation. The goal of their Foundation is “to help empower non-profit initiatives whose efforts resonate with our own mission, particularly in the areas of natural health and well-being, the environment and social responsibility.”

One company that has made a notable contribution to the well-being of society and has made great philanthropic strides in years past has been Uber. They have managed to provide a convenient and efficient taxing service to millions of people worldwide while equally managing to have a strong customer relations presence and charitable vision, unlike many other corporations. Some of their charitable examples are:

  1. In September 2014, in preparation for breast cancer month, Uber launched Ride for a Cause which turned rides into donations. They partnered with 5 charitable organizations. For every ride a customer purchased, Uber donated $1 to the charity of the customer’s choice. The charity with the most rides received an extra $10,000 dollars.
  2. Uber has partnered with several music festivals and local events around the world to offer safe rides home for guests in attendance to make sure that drinking while driving is not an option for the night. Countless lives were possibly saved.
  3. In July 2015, Uber partnered up with The Charitable Society for Orphans Care, Ensan, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to deliver the new toys customers donated as gifts in celebration of Eid Al Fitr.
  4. In April 2015, Uber teamed up with Goodwill and other local charities for clothing donations in over 50 cities.

Will corporate philanthropy continue on the path it is headed? With great corporate social responsibility, come higher societal expectations.

Will corporate philanthropy continue on the path it is headed? With great corporate social responsibility, come higher societal expectations. Corporations are working to better their communities, giving back to those less fortunate has become a trend, and the new normal is giving a portion of your proceeds to those who need it more. Not too shabby! As long as we continue to give back and help those in need around the world, I can only see great positive things in store for our next generation of humanitarians.

 

Jada Cash-Wilson is a Project Coordinator/Graduate Intern in the Department of Government & ExternBlog Photoal Affairs and Community Impact and holds a BA in Political Philosophy. Before connecting with Wheelock, she worked as a Research Policy/Grant Analyst and liaison between the Mayor and City Council for a major city in the mid-west, and as a Legislative Aide for former U.S Senator Carl Levin. Jada aspires to someday make a positive difference in the world.