Corporate philanthropy becomes a renewed focus for leadership companies

February 23, 2021 by  
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Corporate philanthropy becomes a renewed focus for leadership companies Myisha Majumder Tue, 02/23/2021 – 00:05 In 2020, philanthropic donations by major donors saw an almost 7 percent increase on a year-to-date basis. As companies direct more of their money to external charitable causes, internally decision-makers are assessing how the companies’ philanthropic efforts tie into their values, corporate responsibilities and sustainability strategies. For many, this includes weaving sustainability into their already established practices. Jeannette Astorga, head of sustainability at Zoetis, explained during the recent GreenBiz 21 event that the company’s philanthropy needs to be strategic and in line with the company’s sustainability strategy. During the session, Cecily Joseph, adviser for the Presidio Graduate School Initiative for Equity and Social Justice, highlighted the three major components of sustainability in business today — racial equity, climate change, and health and wellness. Joseph noted that racial equity is especially at the forefront of philanthropic strategy given a rise in calls for racial justice in 2020 in the corporate sector. “For companies, [racial equity] encompasses talent and workforce development that are internal to the company,” Joseph said. “[But also] systemic and institutional racism, policies, education.” A multifaceted approach for achieving racial equity is at the center of philanthropic efforts. For example, JPMorgan Chase committed $50 billion towards the advancement of racial justice — including $2 billion specifically for philanthropic efforts — while also working inside the company to diversify its employees. Joseph also cited Apple ’s and Intel’s recent initiatives dedicated to racial equity, pointing out that those initiatives are fueled by philanthropy dollars. While racial justice has become a top corporate priority for many companies this past year, the increased prevalence of the climate crisis has led to further emphasis on using philanthropic dollars on climate change. The violent North American wildfire season , the midwestern and southern winter storms last week and 2020 ending as the hottest year on record, tying with 2016, have made it clear we are entering a new phase of climate catastrophe. And while philanthropic donations towards climate change, in particular, have doubled in the last five years, they still only account for less than 2 percent of total philanthropic donations. But 2020 also presented an opportunity for corporate leadership to look closer to home than a typical philanthropic venture. As the coronavirus pandemic pushed people into isolation, drastically increased burnout and created intense stress, companies worked to support the well-being and the emotional sustainability of their employees.  Philanthropic donations towards climate change have doubled in the last 5 years, yet still only account for less than 2% of total philanthropic donations. In addition to her normal philanthropic work, Kimberly Paxton-Hanger, co-owner of Kwik Lok, worked to give her employees a sustainable lifestyle that supported their communities and families, and helped them be good stewards of their home environment. According to her, this holistic approach made it so that “[the company’s] values are reflected in everything you choose to do.” According to Kwik Lok’s 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility report , the company covered 100 percent of health insurance costs in the U.S. during COVID-19 and nearly one-third of U.S. employees participate in “a company well-being program.”  Astorga explained how during the pandemic, Zoetis looked for ways it could help people struggling outside the company and support healthcare workers. The animal health company donated its cold storage equipment to food banks and personal protective equipment to local hospitals. But to enact true and lasting change, both Paxton-Hanger and Astogra highlighted the need for long-term partnerships. “We want to have partnerships where we are actually interacting with them in a way that is part of our core business operations,” Astogra said. In doing so, sustainability can become a part of the business, rather than solely a one-off philanthropic goal. As Joseph looks to the future, she finds a powerful truth and wisdom in BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink’s 2021 letter to CEOs. In his letter, Fink underscores the importance that no issue is independent of social consequences. Philanthropic work is one pathway of many, that must work in conjunction with others, to achieve equity and justice. “[We are seeing] interconnectedness between philanthropy and sustainability in a way we hadn’t seen before,” Joseph said. Pull Quote Philanthropic donations towards climate change have doubled in the last 5 years, yet still only account for less than 2% of total philanthropic donations. Topics Corporate Social Responsibility Corporate Strategy Philanthropy Corporate Social Responsibility Corporate Strategy ESG GreenBiz 21 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off There is a renewed focus on what corporate money can and should be doing in the philanthropy space.  Via Shutterstock.

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Corporate philanthropy becomes a renewed focus for leadership companies

How the Levi Strauss Foundation takes on social justice issues

April 23, 2020 by  
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Daniel Lee, executive director of the Levi Strauss Foundation, joined veteran journalist Marc Gunther for a conversation about how the foundation has worked on social justice issues for well over a century. In those years, the foundation has largely focused its philanthropic efforts on protecting the marginalized.

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How the Levi Strauss Foundation takes on social justice issues

Corporate philanthropy in the era of climate shocks

February 19, 2020 by  
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With companies’ environmental, social and governance initiatives largely focused on mitigation and adaptation, the lines are blurring between corporate sustainability and philanthropy.

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Corporate philanthropy in the era of climate shocks

These rock climbers are approaching a new summit: energy for all

August 16, 2019 by  
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When the adventurers encountered energy access problems, they created a foundation to drive innovation.

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These rock climbers are approaching a new summit: energy for all

Living homes for all

August 16, 2019 by  
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Can we transform the durability, healthy and sustainability afforable housing?

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Living homes for all

New climate change report underscores the need to manage land for the short and long term

August 16, 2019 by  
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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change describes how human activities have altered 70 percent of Earth’s surface.

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New climate change report underscores the need to manage land for the short and long term

The downside of doing good with a market mindset

January 21, 2019 by  
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Philanthropic giving is not necessarily sustainable development.

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The downside of doing good with a market mindset

Bill Gates gives away $4.6 billion worth of Microsoft shares

August 15, 2017 by  
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Time and time again, Bill Gates has proven himself to be quite the philanthropist . In his latest charitable act, Gates has donated 64 million shares of Microsoft – which is worth a total of $4.6 billion. The donation will reduce Gates’ stake in Microsoft to just 1.3 percent (compared to 24 percent in 1996). Bloomberg reports that the donation is the biggest since he gave away $16 billion worth of shares in 1999 and $5.1 billion in 2000. The news was revealed in a filing to the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday. The filing doesn’t reveal the benefactor of Gates’ donation. Each year, Gates donates approximately 80 million Microsoft shares. The latest gift means that he has just 103 million shares left. The filing reveals that his wife, Melinda, holds nearly 425,000 Microsoft shares. If Gates continues to give away the shares, the philanthropist could reduce his stake in Microsoft to zero by 2019. To date, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is the largest holder of Microsoft Stock, followed by Gates, then the current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Related: Bill Gates launches $1 billion clean energy fund to fight climate change Even though the contribution is a massive sum in monetary terms, Bill Gates still holds the title of the richest person in the world. In fact, Bloomberg values Gates at $86.1 billion (down from $90 billion). Fortunately, he and Melinda have used their wealth to further progressive initiatives . They also intend to give away 95 percent of their wealth by the time they die — and that is commendable. Via Bloomberg Images via Flickr , Pixabay

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Bill Gates gives away $4.6 billion worth of Microsoft shares

Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan donate $3.6 million to stem SF housing crisis

February 9, 2017 by  
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Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook , and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, are donating millions of dollars to help to help mitigate the effects of San Francisco’s so-called “housing crisis.” The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative , the limited liability vehicle the duo established in 2015 for their philanthropic endeavors, is giving $3.1 million to the Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto , a nonprofit legal-aid group that works with evicted and displaced individuals and families of limited means. Another $500,000 will benefit the University of California, Berkley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation , which works to solve housing challenges through research and policy. “In the Bay Area, few challenges are greater than the need for affordable housing,” David Plouffe, president of policy and advocacy for the initiative, said in a statement. “[The grants] will support those working to help families in immediate crisis while supporting research into new ideas to find a long-term solution—a two-step strategy that will guide much of our policy and advocacy work moving forward.” CLSPEA says it will portion some of its grant, which will be doled out over three years, to grassroots partners such as Faith in Action-Bay Area and Youth United for Community Action . The money will help the organization serve an additional 2,500 residents, according to Daniel Saver, senior staff attorney for CLSEPA’s housing program. Most of them live in in East Palo Alto, Belle Haven, and North Fair Oaks, and many either risk displacement or live in unsafe conditions. Related: Mark Zuckerberg announces he will give 99% of his Facebook shares to charity “Housing is on the tip of everyone’s tongue in the Bay Area,” Saver told the Mercury News . “The crisis affects people all across the gamut: middle class and working class, teachers, nurses, service workers … and especially people of color are being written out of our communities by rising rents and unjust evictions. It’s not just a housing crisis that we have; we have a displacement disaster on our hands. We’re bleeding people out of our communities every single day.” Carol J. Galante, faculty director at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation, said Chan and Zuckerberg’s largesse will help her group “figure out how the Bay Area can get out of the difficult situation it’s in relative to such high costs of housing.” She is, at the moment, editing a paper about off-site construction and how the construction industry “ramp that up” in a way that not only lowers costs by 20 percent but also curtails building time by 40 percent. “A portion of the apartment that you’re building is prebuilt in a factory,” she explained. “Think of it as bringing in Legos and stacking them together on top of the foundation.” Via Mercury News Photos from Facebook

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Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan donate $3.6 million to stem SF housing crisis

Secrets of CBS EcoMedia’s advertising success

October 28, 2016 by  
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It’s one of the fastest-growing divisions of CBS. President and Founder Paul Polizzotto describes the unique business model and the role of purpose.

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Secrets of CBS EcoMedia’s advertising success

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