Corporate Philanthropy: A societal necessity

Corporate Philanthropy: A societal necessity


$140,000 worth of tablets to be used in the hardest hit classrooms throughout Fort McMurray. The donation comes at a time where much of the region has been devastated by wildfire. Evacuations and mitigating missions have been dominating the space as people from all across the nation help out.

But it’s not just Samsung Canada that’s offered aid, many companies have also donated significant sums of money to ensure people are getting enough resources to survive. It’s an incredible show of Canadian support, to which Trudeu says “has not only been inspirational, but stands as testament to who we are as a nation.”

In a world where the word “corporation” is synonymous with greed and competition, it’s nice to see the impact of corporate philanthropy. The phrase “strictly business” is pushed aside when disasters present themselves. It reminds us that corporations aren’t monstrous entities, but groups of well-meaning people.

What is corporate philanthropy?

Just as the name suggests, corporate philanthropy is when a “corporation or business promotes the welfare of others, generally via charitable donations of funds or time.” It falls under the umbrella of corporate social responsibility, an acknowledgement of a corporations larger role in society.

It’s also the driving force for many non-governmental organizations, offering support through matching gifts, volunteer grants, community grants, as well as non-cash contributions like supplies and resources. It’s become an integral aspect of society.

According to CharityNavigator, US’s charitable giving increased over 10%. They say that “the increase and the overall size of charitable contributions is further testament to the integral role charities play in our society, a role which continues to grow.”

Why it’s important

For lack of a better metaphor, the fasces presents a sound explanation for why corporate philanthropy is important. Fasces is a Latin word meaning “bundle,” the image associated with it is usually that of a bundle of rods with an axe in the middle.

The symbolism is easy to understand: there is strength in unity. In a world where the little fish get eaten the most, it’s nice to have a few whales who provide help and protection once and a while.

Corporate philanthropy is important simply because it encourages human development, revitalization, and the assurance that we can help each other in times of need. It’s not about socialism or capitalism, nor is it about PR and developing a good reputation. Corporate philanthropy drives and funds smaller institutions whose mandate is simply to help, rebuild, and develop communities and people.

What has it done for the world?

The argument could be made that nowadays corporations and big businesses use corporate philanthropy as one piece of their overall corporate social responsibility. It doesn’t come from a place of deep sentiment, rather it’s more of an obligation at this point.

Regardless of the intention, corporate philanthropy continues to be an important cog in the machine. If companies hadn’t rushed to provide aid to Fort McMurray, it would have put a strain on the government’s ability to help.

Just one charity can allocate money towards the environment, homeless and low-income, disease, and food. When a big company decides to drop a couple hundred thousand dollars, it does wonders not only for the charity but for the community at large.

Corporate philanthropy has transcended its charitable nature. It’s now part of how we fund projects that give back to the people. While big companies often have the reputation of being money machines, it’s important to remember that some of that money is being given back.

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I cover technology, utilities and biotechnology for Markets Morning, and I help out occasionally with other industry sectors. I've written about investment and personal finance topics for more than 20 years from a lowly copywriter to editor-in-chief, so I've done a little bit of everything. For what it's worth, I have a BA from Duke University and an MBA from Rollins College. I'm married with one daughter, and that's worth more than everything else put together.