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11/13/2014 12:00 AM

National Oilwell Varco’s philanthropy focuses on fundraising and providing employee volunteer support to nonprofit groups serving the communities where it operates.


National Oilwell Varco, or NOV, is a leading provider of goods and services to oilfield exploration and production companies around the world. The company provides major mechanical components for land and offshore drilling rigs, complete land drilling and well servicing rigs, tubular inspection and internal tubular coatings, drill string equipment, extensive lifting and handling equipment, and a broad offering of down-hole drilling motors, bits and tools. The company also provides supply-chain services through its network of distribution service centers located near major drilling and production activity globally. In 2013, NOV reported sales of about $22.8 billion and employed roughly 63,700 workers worldwide.


NOV’s charitable giving focuses largely on leveraging the skills and generosity of the company’s employees on behalf of nonprofit partners serving the local communities where NOV does business. The company coordinates employee volunteer activities and fundraising events throughout the year in all of its operating regions, and often combines corporate donations with those of its employees to further support its charitable partners. Some examples of the company’s fundraising and volunteer-supported groups and events include:

  • The United Way. NOV’s Houston facilities participate annually in the Greater Houston United Way campaign. The 2011–2012 campaign was record-setting for NOV, as the company and its employees raised more than $2 million for the group.
  • The MS150. The NOV Cycling Team was established in 2004 and has grown to more than 165 riders who participate in the annual MS150, a 180-mile trek from Houston to Austin that raises money for multiple sclerosis research. The NOV Cycling Team has collectively raised more than $1 million for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society through this event.
  • The Derricks and Diamonds Softball Tournament. NOV partners with Schlumberger each year in Houston to host a softball tournament where more than 900 people play to raise funds for Texas Children’s Hospital and the Snowdrop Foundation. In recent years, the tournament has collected more than $250,000 annually for cancer research, cancer treatment for children who otherwise could not afford it, and scholarships for college-bound cancer patients and survivors.
  • Komen for the Cure. NOV fields one of the largest teams in Houston for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, raising tens of thousands of dollars each year for breast cancer research.
  • Natural disaster response. The company provides its power-generation equipment where needed in response to disaster events. Most recently, NOV provided portable power generators to help recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The generators powered pumps working on draining flooded tunnels between New York and New Jersey. Additional NOV-provided generators were being used at hotels, on Wall Street and at subway stations, and were used to power voting booths. NOV also joined Japan Drilling Company’s fundraising efforts to provide relief to those facing the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that struck northern Japan in March 2011. Japan Drilling Company raised $63,000 to aid in recovery efforts, and NOV was one of the largest contributors.

Additional information is available on the company’s website.

Business Practices
11/3/2014 12:00 AM

Corporate giving professionals need a broad knowledge base—covering business, marketing, HR and communications—to be successful.

As with other career fields, corporate philanthropy professionals must possess certain skill sets to be successful. But while other vocations might require someone with specialized training in a single subject—for example, a master’s in business finance for a position in the banking industry, or a communications degree for a career in marketing—experts say corporate giving officers need a much more expansive and rounded knowledge base to be effective.

According to Maryann Fiala, communications and marketing director at the Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals, the requisite knowledge, skills and abilities for any given position in the sector will vary due to a number of factors.

“Because the position is truly integrated across the business and those working in the profession must be able to understand and work with all departments across a company, it truly is a matter of what that person will be doing within the program,” she told Corporate Philanthropy Report.

That being said, those who have risen to leadership positions within the field tend to share certain traits.

“First, they understand their company’s mission,” Fiala said.

“Second, they are passionate about finding ways to improve a societal ill in a manner that complements their company’s mission. Last, they can articulate to internal and external stakeholders the business case for the company’s involvement in a specific cause.”

A business background is a natural starting point for laying a solid foundation, Fiala said.

“A broad-based understanding of business and finance is critical to allow them to make good decisions about how to allocate their company’s resources,” she said. “They also need to be able to identify projects or causes to fund that fit within their company’s mission, goals and objectives. Being able to make a business case for what you are doing/recommending is essential.”

Further, she said, being able to “think analytically and critically through issues; manage people, processes, budgets and projects; and do projections are all integral to the profession.”

On top of that, experience in human resources is highly valuable, especially since corporate giving programs are increasingly incorporating employee giving and volunteerism.

“Understanding how to motivate employees and how to match employee skills with opportunities can lead to very successful outcomes for both the cause you are supporting and for the company you represent,” Fiala explained. “Studies abound that link engaged employees to higher employee performance, higher employee satisfaction and higher employee retention. Given the cost to recruit and train new employees, employers are looking for ways to provide employees with meaningful engagements, and skills-based volunteering is quickly becoming a hot commodity. People with HR skills are well positioned for this task.”

Communications and marketing experience are also critical and come into play in many ways, Fiala said.

“Being able to articulate your program successes, relate the cause to the business goals in a meaningful and impactful way and communicate with your c-suite executives are skills that are required for success,” she said.

Just as important is the ability to communicate a company’s community investments and subsequent accomplishments—the impact the firm is having, she said.

“Being able to tell a story that can relate across internal and external stakeholders is instrumental,” Fiala said.

Knowing how all of the pieces fit together—the donations, the volunteerism, the nonprofit partners and the social issues at the center of it all—is also increasingly important, Fiala said.

“In the last several years, the ability of a corporation to understand the impact of corporate donations—cash, product and in-kind—has become a priority. Companies want to understand how donations are solving challenges, want to understand the business impacts of contributions and also want to be able to assess how to maximize impact,” she added.

In the end, she said, people need to excel at working with other people, need to be able to communicate effectively and must have a passion for helping others to do well in this field.

For more information, visit the ACCP website at

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.

News Briefs
11/10/2014 12:00 AM

The Land O’Lakes Foundation has pledged $25 million over ten years to the University of Minnesota to support academic and athletic programs at the university.

Land O’Lakes and the Land O’Lakes Foundation have pledged $25 million over ten years to the University of Minnesota to support academic and athletic programs at the university. According to UM, the support will advance the school’s teaching, student support, athletic programs and research mission, with the bulk of the funding going to support intercollegiate athletic programs. Some $15 million will go toward the construction of a 60,000-square-foot Center for Excellence in the university’s new Athletics Village. Land O’Lakes will receive naming rights to the center, which will house academic, nutrition and leadership development programs for university students and student-athletes. On the academic side, $1 million will go to establish an endowed Land O’Lakes Chair in Marketing within the university’s Carlson School of Management, and $1 million will go to the school’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences to support scholarships and programming for students.

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.


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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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