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10/28/2014 12:00 AM

The Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation supports cancer care and prevention efforts, education and other forms of service in underserved communities.


Ralph Lauren is a leading designer, marketer and distributor of apparel, home accessories and fragrances sold under a variety of premium brands. In addition to its flagship Polo Ralph Lauren label, the company markets products under the Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Black Label, RRL, RLX, Ralph Lauren Childrenswear, American Living, Chaps and Club Monaco names, among others. The company’s products are sold at about 11,500 locations worldwide, including about 435 Ralph Lauren and Club Monaco–branded retail stores and numerous upscale department store chains, including Macy’s. The company reported sales of about $7.4 billion for the 2014 fiscal year and employed about 23,000 workers worldwide.


Ralph Lauren conducts its charitable giving mainly through the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation, which the company established to provide financial support to nonprofit community groups promoting and providing care for cancer patients, education and other forms of service in underserved communities. The foundation has established partners with numerous regional and national charitable groups operating in these fields, including:

  • The Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention. This facility was established a decade ago in partnership with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. As of today, the Ralph Lauren Center has cared for approximately 100,000 patients and 13,000 uninsured individuals from all five New York City boroughs. The Ralph Lauren Center, the only outpatient facility of its kind in Harlem, seeks to provide the highest-quality cancer care and prevention to New York City’s underserved populations in a culturally competent and patient-centered manner, with the goal of eliminating barriers to care and reducing disparities.
  • Specialists at the Ralph Lauren Center make treatment possible for a wide range of cancers, and all patients have access to psychotherapy and pain management services, as well as treatment of rare cancers through referrals to inpatient services at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and other hospitals.

  • The Pink Pony Fund for Cancer Care and Prevention. The Pink Pony Fund is a worldwide initiative that raises funds for cancer treatment, with the goal to reduce disparities in cancer care in medically underserved communities and ensure that treatment is available at an earlier, more curable stage. In the United States, 25 percent of the purchase price of Pink Pony–branded products goes to support programs for screening, early diagnosis, treatment, research and patient navigation. Pink Pony grant recipients have included the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in New York City; the Women’s Cancer Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles; and Prevención Inc. and the Nina Hyde Center in Washington, D.C.
  • The American Heroes Fund. Established in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, the American Heroes Fund raised $4 million for relief efforts and established a college scholarship fund for the children of the victims of the attacks. In addition, the Fund bestowed major gifts to the Twin Towers Fund, the American Red Cross and the New York Police and Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund.
  • Habitat for Humanity. The foundation supports Habitat for Humanity through its G.I.V.E. (Get.Involved.Volunteer.Exceed.) Your Jeans a New Home initiative, which has collected more than 19,000 pairs of used jeans from college campuses, employees and high school students, which were recycled into “green” building insulation for use in Habitat for Humanity homes in the South Bronx in New York City and Hurricane Katrina–ravaged Mississippi. In addition, the G.I.V.E. campaign donated $100,000 to the group to build Katrina-related replacement homes in Mobile, Ala.
  • The Ralph Lauren Children’s Literacy Program. The company and its foundation support education and literacy initiatives worldwide through this program, which raises funds through sales of specially designed and branded children’s clothing. A full 25 percent of all proceeds are given to Reach Out and Read, a nonprofit network of medical providers who promote early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by giving away new books to children.

In addition, the company’s employees support their communities through an array of company-sponsored volunteer projects coordinated through the Ralph Lauren Volunteers program. Since its launch a decade ago, thousands of Ralph Lauren Volunteers have committed to making a difference in their communities by building homes for Habitat for Humanity; organizing food, clothing and toy drives; preparing food for the sick at God’s Love We Deliver; and taking part in many other activities that benefit nonprofit organizations in Ralph Lauren communities.

For additional information, visit the company’s website.

10/16/2014 12:00 AM

Exelon focuses its charitable giving on groups and projects relating to education, arts and culture, neighborhood development and the environment.


Exelon is one of the country’s leading energy providers, with more than 35,000 megawatts of owned capacity comprising one of the nation’s cleanest and lowest-cost power generation fleets. The company’s Constellation business unit provides energy products and services to about 100,000 business and public-sector customers and more than 1 million residential customers. Meanwhile, its subsidiary utilities deliver electricity and natural gas to more than 7.8 million customers in central Maryland through Baltimore Gas and Electric; northern Illinois through ComEd; and southeastern Pennsylvania through PECO. In 2013, Exelon reported sales of about $24.9 billion and employed roughly 25,900 workers.


Exelon’s charitable giving is focused on efforts to enhance the quality of life in the many communities served by its generating stations. The company provides a mix of cash grants, employee volunteerism and in-kind donations for energy assistance programs to a host of nonprofit groups and projects in its communities.

The company’s core giving areas include:

  • Education. The company supports programs that encourage students to stay in school and develop their full potential; promote math and science; improve workforce skills; and encourage personal development through scholarships, mentoring and internships.
  • Environment. Support in this area goes to programs that improve the health of the local environment; promote environmental education, conservation and preservation; develop cleaner sources of energy; protect endangered species; and beautify neighborhoods in communities served by the company.
  • Arts and culture. The company provides cash support to cultural institutions with broad public exposure and programs designed to make arts and culture more accessible to a wider audience.
  • Neighborhood development. Exelon supports a wide range of community and neighborhood development groups—from health and human services providers to after-school programming. It contributes to many of these organizations through the Exelon Employee United Way Campaign—which combined employee contributions and company matches—but it also makes a limited amount of grants directly to local nonprofit organizations.

Some examples of the company’s recent charitable support include:

  • Stay in School. The ComEd and Exelon-United Way Stay in School Initiative provides valuable after-school programming to help middle school and high school students with the support they need to advance to the next grade level and graduate. In addition to yielding higher graduation rates, Stay in School improves students’ grades, attendance rates and prosocial behaviors.
  • The Illinois Holocaust Museum. With support from Exelon, the Illinois Holocaust Museum launched its Anti-Bullying Initiative, which encompasses existing museum anti-bullying programming, as well as new opportunities for education and partnerships. The Illinois Holocaust Museum uses a focused approach to address this issue and educate young people, capitalizing on its distinctive public space and historical lens, Exelon says.
  • The Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy. Building on Exelon’s existing education initiatives, the company, the Rowe Family Charitable Trust, and Frank and Vera Clark contributed $4.2 million to open the Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy charter school in 2007. Operated by Noble Network of Charter Schools and located in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, the school currently serves more than 600 students in grades 9 through 12. In June 2010, the first class of seniors graduated with 100 percent of the class accepted into college. In the years since, the campus has graduated more than 300 students. Exelon provides summer internship opportunities for students to receive meaningful work experience and gain a broader understanding of potential careers in the energy industry.
  • Fishing for a Cure. Since 2002, Exelon’s Braidwood Generating Station has hosted its Fishing for a Cure fundraising event. Each year, Braidwood employees choose a different charity to benefit from the event. In May 2011, in a fitting celebration of Armed Services Day, the tournament raised a record $38,000 for the Wounded Heroes Foundation. Since its beginning, Fishing for a Cure has raised more than $200,000 for charity.
  • The University of Delaware. Exelon donated $500,000 to the University of Delaware to create an on-campus simulated trading floor. The program allows university students to get real-world training in the field of energy trading without leaving campus.
  • The Wharton Energy Conference. Since 2005, Exelon has been a lead sponsor of the Wharton Energy Conference, an annual event sponsored by the Wharton Energy Club, an independent, student-run organization at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The event brings together more than 200 energy industry thought leaders and business school students for a meaningful discussion about the future of energy each year.
  • Electrical safety. Exelon distributes brochures containing details about emergency warning systems, evacuation routes and other safety issues to residents living near each of its nuclear generating stations. The company also holds Community Information Nights for local residents and sponsors a variety of other energy-related safety workshops in its local communities.

The company also offers several programs that encourage and reward the charitable endeavors of its employees. In 2013, more than 3,700 employees served more than 96,000 hours as volunteers at various organizations in Exelon service areas.

Exelon’s employee volunteer engagement program is called Energy for the Community. This program is designed to help employees practice the company’s community service values through volunteerism. Employees can easily find and sign up for service projects in their area of interest or near where they live.

The company encourages volunteerism among its employees throughout National Volunteer Week, an annual, nationwide observance of individuals’ and organizations’ contributions to their communities. The company’s 2013 National Volunteer Week program empowered employee volunteers to design their own service projects and recruit colleagues. Employees from every Exelon operating company participated in more than 160 community service projects, choosing to concentrate on environmental projects that support the company’s carbon-reduction strategy and goals and opportunities to support the company’s diversity-related initiatives.

The company also provides grants to the nonprofit organizations supported by its employees through a Dollars for Doers program.

In addition, Exelon’s senior management team and other employees serve on the boards of more than 500 nonprofit organizations throughout the Chicago and Philadelphia areas. And Exelon employees pledge millions of dollars annually through the company’s annual United Way workplace giving campaign.

The company shines a spotlight on the philanthropic commitments of its employees through the Energy for the Community Employee Volunteer Awards, which rewards Exelon employees for outstanding dedication and commitment to community service. Exelon provides a total of $140,000 in grants to 18 organizations each year to honor employees who have demonstrated exceptional community service by volunteering at least 50 hours with a nonprofit charitable partner over the course of a year. The winners are announced and honored during a special celebration during National Volunteer Week.

For more information, visit the company’s website.

Best Practices
9/26/2014 12:00 AM

Doing a materiality assessment can help companies identify which areas and social issues to focus philanthropic resources on.

For some companies, choosing where to focus their philanthropic investments can be a challenge. Some industries have it easier than others in this regard, as evidenced by the comparably high giving budgets (especially for in-kind donations) of pharmaceutical firms, computer hardware and software companies, financial services firms and others whose products and services are easily leveraged on behalf of charitable groups and social causes.

For companies whose products aren’t directly tied to a specific and obvious social cause, there is an exercise that can help evaluate various options and identify which areas and issues fit best. The concept of materiality originates from the world of financial accounting and refers to the kinds of information that companies should include in financial statements to ensure that investors and other stakeholders have all of the truly relevant information they need to make informed decisions. In the world of corporate social responsibility, the concept has been adapted to include all of the vital information about a company’s performance and impact on society—at all levels—so that management, investors and stakeholders can make similarly informed decisions.

“By soliciting input from internal and external stakeholders, a materiality exercise can assist a company not only in finding the basis from which to develop their corporate citizenship program, but also to ensure they will receive the support of those individuals who matter most to the company,” said Elizabeth Rogers of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship.

In a blog post on the subject, Rogers cited the work of CSR consulting group AccountAbility, which argues that if companies want to remain competitive, they need to develop new approaches and processes for determining materiality that include the ability to:

  • Discern which issues are most material to the company, its stakeholders, industry and the wider operating environment.
  • Develop appropriate mechanisms and processes that enable continual learning and assessment of material priorities, and how performance improvements can occur.
  • Manage materiality, based on these insights, in ways that anchor sustainability issues at the heart of a company’s operating system.

In the group’s 2012 report, Redefining Materiality II: Why It Matters, Who’s Involved and What It Means for Corporate Leaders and Boards, AccountAbility identified a framework for determining materiality that includes two main components:

  • Issue identification. According to the group, companies must identify the widest possible selection of environmental, social and economic issues that are or might be relevant to the business and to its stakeholders by doing the following:
    • Identify a long list of issues relevant to direct short-term financial performance, ability to deliver on strategy and policies, best practice norms exhibited by peers, stakeholder behavior and concerns, and societal norms.
    • Enable all significant stakeholders’ viewpoints to feed into the analysis.
    • Draw on internal and external sources of information.
  • Issue prioritization. This next step, AccountAbility says, is needed in order to sift out the issues according to how significant they are to the company and its stakeholders. Specifically, companies need to:
    • Choose internal and external criteria to identify those issues relevant to drivers of business strategy and performances, and those issues that are most important to the stakeholders.
    • Decide on thresholds on the internal and external axis to determine materiality. This may be a simple division into material/not material categories or it could be more sophisticated, indicating a scale of levels of materiality, the group says.

By going through these exercises—identifying the material information about the company and its interplay and impact on society—firms will likely find the most significant social issues that they have a hand in and can play a role in addressing, and revise their philanthropic strategies accordingly.

For more information, visit the group’s website at

News Briefs
10/27/2014 12:00 AM

Medtronic Philanthropy has launched a five-year, $6 million initiative to reduce premature mortality resulting from rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease.

Medtronic Philanthropy, the charitable arm of medical device manufacturer Medtronic, has launched a five-year, $6 million effort to reduce premature mortality resulting from rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease. Medtronic will focus on making progress toward the World Heart Federation goal of reducing premature mortality from RHD by 25 percent by 2025 for those under 25 years of age, with an emphasis on developing comprehensive projects in targeted countries. Funding will go to support efforts to integrate RHD interventions into primary care facilities, while leveraging current efforts focused on maternal and newborn care and HIV, including the training of community health care workers who will be the link between patients and the health system. All interventions will be implemented with the goal of strengthening the entire health system rather than supporting RHD-only projects, the company said.

News Briefs
10/14/2014 12:00 AM

The GE Foundation has pledged $20 million for programs aimed at reducing child mortality and improving maternal health in Africa.

The GE Foundation has pledged $20 million to advance health care in Africa through the extension of programs focused on the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5: to reduce child mortality and to improve maternal health, respectively. The foundation’s Developing Health Globally program is already working with hospitals and health centers in Africa, providing training and mentoring for practitioners and clinicians, as well as the necessary equipment needed by maternity, labor and delivery, and postpartum units of district hospitals. With this new five-year commitment, the foundation said it will continue working with its partners to develop and extend programs that test innovative, simple solutions and technologies for low-resource settings.

News Briefs
10/2/2014 12:00 AM

Toyota Motor North America has pledged $1 million to the Detroit Institute of Arts as part of a “grand bargain” to help Detroit emerge from bankruptcy.

Toyota Motor North America has pledged $1 million toward the Detroit Institute of Arts’ commitment to raise $100 million as part of a “grand bargain” that will help the city of Detroit emerge from bankruptcy, support city pensioners and protect the museum’s art collection for the public. According to the DIA, the “grand bargain” will provide Detroit’s pensioners more than $800 million from the DIA, local and national foundations and the state of Michigan over a 20-year period. The funds will be directed to a supporting organization of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and then disbursed for city pension payments over the next 20 years. As part of the agreement, the city of Detroit will transfer ownership of the DIA’s art collection, building and related assets to the private nonprofit corporation that currently operates the museum, Detroit Institute of Arts Inc.


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  • Meet the Editor

    Nicholas King

    Nicholas King has served as editor of Corporate Philanthropy Report since 2007, and he continues to be impressed with the philanthropic efforts of the nation’s business sector.

    Drawing on an educational background in English and environmental policy, Nicholas began his journalism career in 2000 when he was brought on as editor of Environmental Laboratory Washington Report, a niche-market subscription-based newsletter serving the environmental testing industry. After seven years of honing his craft, Nicholas expanded his writing/editing portfolio to an entirely new field of interest - corporate philanthropy. As editor of Corporate Philanthropy Report, he stays abreast of the latest developments affecting corporate giving—and the charitable/nonprofit sector more broadly—providing his readers the “need to know” information vital for making the best use of their limited charitable dollars.

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