San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Summit & Awards – July 21, 2005

Mary Huss, Publisher of the San Francisco Business Times, announced the top 60 corporate giving programs ranked by cash contributions to Bay Area nonprofits.  The top twenty:
1.     Wells Fargo & Co.
2.     Intel Corp.
3.     Bank of America Corp.
4.     Chevron Corp.
5.     Applied Materials Inc.
6.     Citigroup Inc.
7.     PG&E corp.
8.     Genentech Inc.
9.     SBC Communications Inc.
10.    Intuit Inc.
11.    Hewlett-Packard Co.
12.    The Clorox Co.
13.    Gap Inc.
14.    JPMorgan Chase & Co.
15.    Target Corp.
16.    Oracle Corp.
17.    Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co.
18.    Sobrato Development Cos.
19.    Microsoft Corp.
20.    AMD Inc.

Four companies received giving awards not related to the amount of their cash contributions:
*       Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. – Innovator of the Year
*       Burr, Pilger & Mayer – Education Partner of the Year (companies with fewer than 500 employees in the Bay Area)
*       SBC Communications – Education Partner of the Year (companies with more than 500 employees in the Bay Area)
*       Macy’s West – Community Health Partner of the Year

The complete list of the top corporate giving programs in the Bay Area and several articles related to corporate philanthropy can be found in the “Corporate Philanthropy 2005” Special Supplement to the San Francisco Business Times, July 22-28, 2005 edition.

With respect to corporate philanthropy, it is important to understand that the directors of a for-profit corporation typically have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to focus on the bottom line.  For this reason, many companies that do not have an established history of corporate giving are hesitant to engage in this practice without a good showing that it will ultimately improve the company’s profits.  Moreover, those corporations that make gifts tend to be attracted to new, high-profile programs rather than ongoing, less sexy, core programs that require regular funding.

Many corporate funders advise that grant seekers looking for funds to maintain exisiting programs show how such funds would be used to increase such programs’ effectiveness and efficiency and how the corporate funder may benefit from the gift.  Developing relationships with the employees of corporate funders, particularly those in leadership positions within the same geographic area of the grant seeker, may also greatly improve the chance of funding or receiving in-kind gifts and/or volunteer/pro bono services, both of which should never be overlooked.

For more information about corporate philanthropy, the following links may be helpful:

Philanthropy, Inc. – How Today’s Corporate Donors Want Their Gifts to Help the Bottom Line, Keith Epstein, Stanford Social Innovation Review (Summer 2005)

The Who-What-Where of Corporate Giving, Jessica Stannard-Friel (7/15/05), OnPhilanthropy

Commitee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy

Foundation Center FAQ:  Where can I find information on corporate giving?