Two key relationships at the Foundation are tied to corporations. In one instance the founder of a company, through his estate planning, contributed the company entirely to charity, and in another instance the owner of a company makes substantial annual contributions to a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation, supporting various causes with a focus on youth.
In both of these instances the personal charitable nature of the owners led to their companies having wonderful charitable benefit to help others. Through a marvelously well planned and vetted structure, the income from the donated company benefits individuals per the wishes of the donor. Both of these giving structures are somewhat unusual but work very well, and we are privileged to be a part of the good they do.
In 2013 the U.S.-based company that gave the most cash to charities was Walmart–giving more than $300 million, which was about 1.3% of their pretax profits. Walmart is a major supporter of the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, contributing vast quantities of goods through their distribution center east of Sparks, NV. Walmart is followed by Wells Fargo, a company that has provided tremendous support in our community, at $275 million, or about 1% of their pretax profits. These companies have embedded giving back into their culture, and we all benefit as a result.
In 2013 corporate profits surged and, not unrelated, corporate giving rose by 17.2%. When we add in goods and services and look at the top couple of companies, first is Alcoa which gave away 12.1% of its profits, followed by Safeway which gave away 7.2% of its profits. These are anomalies with only 5 companies giving away more than 4% of their profits.
The report from The Chronicle of Philanthropy used for the above statistics examined the 70 most profitable companies in the U.S. using a combination of surveys and IRS reported information.
Savvy companies recognize that giving back in their communities is very popular with employees. A coalition of CEOs said employees, far more than customers, board directors, or shareholders, influence where they invest or “give back” in their communities. The 2014 Millennial Impact Report published last month by Achieve reported that a third of people ages 20-34 reported that their companies’ volunteer policies affected their decision to apply for a job, and 55% said it played into their decision to accept an offer. With Millennials set to make up half of the U.S. work force by 2020, their preferences about volunteering and company philanthropy bode well for trending toward company cultures that support community. This is indeed heartening to learn.
The Community Foundation is privileged to work with other corporations in town, such as NV Energy on their scholarship program. With a track record of impact philanthropy and a deep knowledge of effective programs and community organizations, the Community Foundation is ready and able to help corporations working on employee engagement and building strong connections to the community. If you are involved with a company and would like to explore becoming more engaged with the community, please give us a call. We connect people who care with causes that matter. Chris Askin, President & CEO, 775-762-1932.