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1/17/2018 12:00 AM

Bashas’ charitable giving goes mainly to schools, churches and nonprofits operating in the areas of education, hunger, family and children.

OVERVIEW

Bashas’ is a leading regional grocery store chain that operates some 130 stores, nearly all of which are in Arizona. The company operates stores under several brands, including Bashas’, AJ’s Fine Foods, Sportsman’s Fine Wines & Spirits and Eddie’s Country Store. Each of its chains has a specific market focus, ranging from the Bashas’ traditional grocery outlet to Food City stores that cater to the Hispanic population to Dine Markets stores that serve the Navajo Nation. The company is family-owned.

GIVING

Bashas’ charitable giving goes mainly to schools, churches and nonprofits that serve the company’s customers throughout its service area. The company concentrates its giving on the core program areas of education, hunger, family and children.

Some of Bashas’ major philanthropic programs include:

  • Charity of the Month. Bashas’ customers have an opportunity to give back to a local nonprofit every month in a Bashas’ store—whether it be donating food or making a donation at the register. The recipient changes month to month and includes a wide variety of nonprofit groups, including local children’s hospitals and local chapters of the Boys & Girls Clubs, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and American Heart Association, among others. The program raises thousands of dollars for local charities each month.
  • Annual food drives. Bashas’ holds two major food drives—a Summer Sack Lunch Drive in the summer and a Turkey Tuesday Drive during the holiday season. With help from its customers, the company has contributed more than a half a million pounds of food, providing meals for those in need, working with The Society of St. Vincent de Paul and local food banks to distribute the food.
  • The Community Support Card. Nonprofits can easily raise funds from their supporters simply by purchasing Bashas’ Community Support Cards, which are eligible for a 6 percent discount. The organization then sells the Community Support Card to its supporters at face value and receives a 6 percent profit. And the supporters can reload their Community Support Card at Bashas’, Food City and AJ’s Fine Foods stores and the organization will continue to earn 6 percent of the reload amount.
  • Community partnerships. Bashas’ has partnered with local government agencies and chambers of commerce to support and promote a variety of public awareness and safety campaigns, in addition to celebratory city and state milestones.
  • Event sponsorships. The company supports various walk/run fundraisers every year. For example, AJ’s Fine Foods provides a variety of event sponsorships through cash and product donations in exchange for onsite and media exposure. And Food City supports a large number of community- and family-oriented events that range from hosting soccer tournaments featuring dozens of teams to local Easter Egg Hunts, culinary festivals and concert series reaching thousands of individuals and families.
  • Community need response. In times of tragedy or intense public need, all Bashas’ Food City and AJ’s Fine Foods stores have the ability to add point-of-sale donations to support a particular need or organization. For example, during Arizona’s fire season, the Bashas’ family of stores has implemented unique point-of-sale donation options to support The Salvation Army in its relief and support efforts for those affected.
  • Bashas’ Volunteers. Bashas’ employees and retirees, along with their families and friends, volunteer hundreds of hours to community-based projects each year. Its employees have helped children learn to read, assembled back-to-school toolkits for the United Way, sorted toys for the Salvation Army and served meals to the hungry, among other activities.

Additional information is available on the company’s website.

1/5/2018 12:00 AM

Chesapeake Energy’s philanthropy includes support for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education; the environment; emergency and disaster response; and community development.

OVERVIEW

Chesapeake Energy is a leading developer of onshore oil and natural gas assets in the United States. The company is one of the largest natural gas producers in the country, with estimated proved reserves of about 6.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent. The company has reserves and production operations scattered across the country, including in the Permian Basin, the Rockies, Appalachia and elsewhere, with more than 22,000 individual oil and gas wells on line. Chesapeake also owns oil and natural gas marketing and natural gas compression businesses. In 2016, the company posted sales of about $7.8 billion and directly employed about 3,300 workers.

GIVING

Chesapeake’s philanthropy is directed largely at efforts to improve the quality of life in areas where it does business. The company’s giving takes many forms, including:

  • Cash donations, which go to organizations that align with the company’s core values and business strategies. Chesapeake partners with local nonprofit organizations to meet community needs through financial donations. The company’s core giving areas include science, technology, engineering and math education; the environment; emergency and disaster response; and community development.
  • One of the company’s largest charitable partners is the United Way. Every fall, Chesapeake hosts an employee-driven companywide fundraising campaign, with Chesapeake matching employee donations. During a two-month period, the company holds a variety of activities to raise awareness and collect donations for the organization and its beneficiaries. In Oklahoma City alone, the company and its employees raised roughly $1.5 million for the United Way of Central Oklahoma, making it one of the largest employee giving campaigns benefiting the organization each year.

  • In-kind donations, in the form of repurposed materials that have been retired from the corporate life cycle. For example, after a number of employee moves and asset sales, Chesapeake’s facilities and employee services divisions recently had an excess of office supplies that were at the end of their corporate life cycle. In partnership with the company’s social responsibility team, the three business groups collaborated to organize Donation Day. Through this event—which spanned two days—nonprofits shopped for complimentary office supplies and equipment. Nearly 75 nonprofits and schools left Donation Day with boxes of supplies acquired free of charge. Many of the organizations were Chesapeake’s long-term community partners, but employees also had the opportunity to nominate nonprofits to participate.
  • Employee volunteerism, through programs that connect Chesapeake workers with local charitable groups working to create positive change in their communities. The company’s workers volunteer under the company’s H.E.L.P. (Helping Energize Local Progress) Initiative, through which employees may use four hours of company time per year to volunteer at the nonprofit of their choice.
  • Mentoring programs, which pair employees with local students to encourage academic success and build self-esteem. A cornerstone of the H.E.L.P. Initiative is the Chesapeake Mentoring Program, through which Chesapeake employees mentor students in Oklahoma City schools. In the last 20 years, Chesapeake has built one of the largest mentoring programs in the state. Each week during the school year, more than 200 employees visit one-on-one with elementary and high school students during their workdays.

Additional information is available on the company’s website.

1/2/2018 12:00 AM

Corporate giving departments and foundations should earmark some of their grant funding to support impact evaluations and board development.

Corporate giving departments and foundations looking to help their nonprofit partners build capacity should earmark some of their grant funding to support impact evaluations and board development, researchers say—two areas where the majority of charities are lacking.

According to William F. Meehan III and Kim Starkey Jonker, authors of the new book Engine of Impact: Essentials of Strategic Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector, nonprofits these days are facing three core challenges: lackluster fundraising, weak board governance and failure to measure and understand their impact. Corporate funders can obviously help with the first on that list, simply by awarding more grants. But dedicating support for the other two might pay bigger dividends, Meehan and Jonker said, because of how critical they are to a nonprofit’s success.

According to Meehan, a weak board of directors exhibits some telltale signs, such as:

  • They don’t show up, are late or don’t pay attention during meetings.
  • They’re not prepared or don’t understand the topics under discussion, including their role on the board and the board’s role in the organization.
  • They don’t have the experience, knowledge or confidence to provide leadership on issues of concern to the organization or board.

All of this translates into some key failures, Meehan said. For one, they are ignoring one of the biggest issues facing nonprofits today—strategic planning, and guiding the future of the organization through proper succession planning. And they aren’t ensuring the organization’s executive is held to account for his or her performance.

Funders can help address this by earmarking portions of their grants specifically for board development, Meehan and Jonker said. There’s a wide array of training and resources available that help nonprofits develop strong, supportive boards, but such expenses are often frowned upon by funders, who want to see their money go toward direct services. Bucking this trend and providing money to support board development and other capacity-building activities may not translate immediately into an easily tracked metric, but it will magnify impact down the road and ensure it is sustaining.

Impact evaluation itself is another area where corporate funders can get a big “bang for the buck,” Meehan and Jonker said. According to their research, just about half of nonprofits are using third-party evaluators, and only 40 percent do so on a regular basis. Hiring outside help for this is crucial, Jonker said, as it provides an objective look at an organization’s programs and impact that a nonprofit’s staff might not be able or willing to offer.

“Internal staffers have an incentive to show that a given program works,” she said, and that bias might skew the results.

It also takes an increasing level of knowledge and expertise to conduct objective program evaluations, especially the kinds of random control trials Meehan recommends. The typical nonprofit likely does not have any staff members adequately equipped for the task, he said.

Finally, Meehan said, some nonprofits purposely avoid the hard “look in the mirror” that such evaluations offer, out of fear of what they might say.

“There’s a significant portion of them that will find out they aren’t having much of an impact at all,” he said. “They just aren’t operating at a large enough scale” to move the needle in whatever program area they are working in, he said.

For corporate grantmakers, supporting board development and impact evaluations achieves dual goals: Their nonprofit partners benefit from stronger, more engaged board members and critical insight into their programming; and it ensures resources aren’t wasted on ineffective nonprofits that have no interest in improving. In essence, they are helping to bolster their own social impact, along with that of their nonprofit partners.

For more information, visit www.engineofimpact.org.

News Briefs
1/28/2018 12:00 AM

Best Buy has committed $30 million to help underprivileged teens, with the goal of preparing 1 million youth per year for tech-reliant jobs.

Best Buy is expanding its commitment to help underprivileged teens with an investment of $30 million, with the goal of preparing 1 million youth per year for tech-reliant jobs through intensified training and career-readiness programs by 2020. As part of this commitment, Best Buy will be expanding its Teen Tech Center locations fivefold, from 11 to more than 60 centers. The facilities will open across the United States, Canada and Mexico over the next three years, providing 2,000 young people with post–high school career-readiness help each year, which will include internship opportunities and career mentorship through a new Best Buy Career Pathways program; and increasing Best Buy Foundation grants to reach nearly 800,000 youth annually by 2020. The foundation will expand outreach through the company’s Geek Squad Academy program.

News Briefs
1/17/2018 12:00 AM

The UPS Foundation is awarding more than $2.6 million in grants to nonprofit organizations focused on environmental initiatives.

The UPS Foundation is awarding more than $2.6 million in grants to nonprofit organizations focused on environmental initiatives that align with UPS’s new sustainability goals to increase its reliance on renewable energy sources and reduce its absolute greenhouse gas emissions from global ground operations. A large grant will support the World Resources Institute, a global research organization that provides continued program support for the development of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the Science Based Targets initiative and the sustainable use of renewable natural gas. Grants will also be awarded to UPS partners The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund. Both organizations have played an integral role in the UPS Global Forestry Initiative, a program designed to plant, protect and preserve trees in urban and rural areas and forests worldwide.

News Briefs
1/14/2018 12:00 AM

American Express has awarded a total of $2 million for projects that help preserve America’s Main Street districts.

American Express, in partnership with the National Trust, National Geographic and Main Street America, has awarded a total of $2 million for the Partners in Preservation: Main Streets initiative, a community-based campaign to raise awareness about the importance of preserving America’s Main Street districts. Twenty-five different Main Street districts participated in the campaign. The 11 winning historic sites, determined by popular vote, will receive a total of $1.5 million in grants to fund their respective preservation projects. An additional $500,000 in grants was provided to the nonprofit partners of the 25 Main Street communities that participated in the program at the outset of the campaign to help raise awareness about their preservation needs. The 11 winning sites include the Germantown United Community Development Corporation in Philadelphia, which will use the $150,000 grant to preserve and provide structural improvements to Parker Hall and the John Trower Building; Casa Grande Main Street in Casa Grande, Ariz., which will use a $144,000 grant to install a Vintage Neon Sign Park at the heart of its historic downtown; the Los Angeles Conservancy, which will use its $150,000 grant to rehabilitate the historic Formosa Cafe on Route 66; and the MainStreet de Las Vegas Corporation in Las Vegas, N.M., which will use a $150,000 grant to complete the restoration of the E. Romero Hose & Fire Building, home of the first volunteer fire department in the Southwest.

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  • Meet the Editor

    Nicholas King
    Editor

    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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