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8/26/2016 12:00 AM

The Black & Veatch Foundation provides financial support to a variety of nonprofit groups, with special emphasis on science, technology, math and engineering education and humanitarian aid groups.

OVERVIEW

Black & Veatch is one of the world’s top engineering, consulting and construction firms. With clients in the energy, water, telecommunications and government services sectors, the company specializes in large-scale infrastructure projects, taking the lead on all project phases—from environmental consulting and security design to operations management and IT services. Examples of projects headed by the company include coal and nuclear power plants, drinking water and desalination systems, and regional wireless and broadband systems development. In 2015, the privately held company posted revenues of about $3 billion.

GIVING

Black & Veatch’s philanthropy is handled mainly through ‚Äčthe Black & Veatch Foundation, which provides financial support to a variety of nonprofit groups and programs that benefit the company’s operating communities and well beyond. Much of its grantmaking is coordinated with employee volunteers who provide their skilled services and knowledge to maximize impact. The foundation focuses its funding on three core areas:

  • STEM education. Black & Veatch has a long-standing commitment to bolstering science, technology, engineering and math education in its communities. The company supports organizations and programs offering STEM opportunities for students to acquire the knowledge, skills and general competence that will enable them to support the engineering industry. Focus areas include higher education, professional societies and associations, secondary/high/middle schools and student services. Examples of the firm’s giving in this area include:
    • Black & Veatch partners with the KC STEM Alliance to promote education in Kansas City. With this partnership, funds support Project Lead the Way, a leading provider of STEM education to middle and high schools across the United States. Black & Veatch supports PLTW in the classroom by providing mentors and speakers to classes. The firm’s employees serve on advisory boards within several PLTW school districts and the Academy of Engineering.
    • In a unique partnership, Black & Veatch has joined Major League Soccer franchise Sporting Kansas City for the 2015–2019 MLS seasons to promote STEM to students in the Kansas City school district through the company’s growSTEM initiative. The partnership develops summer camps at select Kansas City middle schools. With appearances by Sporting Kansas City players and help from mentors and engineering experts from Black & Veatch, each camp offers STEM-related curricula, highlighted daily by a challenge specifically focused on Sporting Kansas City. The subjects range from the engineering elements in the design of Sporting Park to technology solutions for fan engagement to the on-field data analysis of player performances. Black & Veatch employees work alongside school teachers to develop age-appropriate challenges and to evaluate students’ proposals. In addition, Sporting Kansas City players in attendance at each camp meet the program participants and offer feedback based on their unique professional experiences.
    • As the Museum at Prairiefire’s Global STEM Partner, Black & Veatch works with the museum to create opportunities for interactive experiences, exhibitions and educational programs to encourage youth to pursue STEM-based studies and to be aware of global career paths available in the fields of engineering and science. Through this partnership, bridges are built between the functional research of scientists and the applied work of engineers who can provide sustainable solutions for critical human infrastructure worldwide.
    • Black & Veatch participates in Future City, a project-based learning experience for middle school students. Participants use SimCity planning software as they compete in designing model cities. They learn from teachers and engineer mentors in team settings.
    • The firm mentors a number of FIRST Robotics teams, helping students compete in an international high school robotics contest that fosters project management and communication skills through the building of robots that can complete tasks.
    • The company sponsors Explorer Post, part of Learning for Life of Kansas City. The program exposes high school students interested in math, science and engineering to the various disciplines of engineering through presentations, hands-on activities, engineering tours and community service events supported by Black & Veatch.
  • Humanitarian aid. The foundation supports nonprofit organizations and programs primarily organized on a national or global basis that provide aid and action designed to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain and protect human dignity during and in the aftermath of human-made crises and natural disasters. In addition, the foundation supports organizations that aim to prevent and strengthen preparedness for the occurrence of such situations. Grantees in this area include:
    • WaterAid. Black & Veatch employees regularly participate in numerous athletic and fundraising events to help generate money for this organization that works to bring safe and accessible water to the world’s poorest communities.
    • The Red Cross. Black & Veatch contributes to Red Cross initiatives that are related to its various business lines. For example, the firm has supported community drinking water systems and relief efforts to restore clean drinking water.
    • Water for People. The company contributes financially to this group and has facilitated a wide range of charitable activities and fundraising events in support of Water for People’s mission.
    • Children’s Mercy Hospital. Black & Veatch hosts a charity golf event for CMH that has raised $3.3 million since its inception. The company also made a five-year pledge of $2.1 million to support the Children’s Mercy Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine.
  • Signature programs. Black & Veatch partners with select organizations in which the company has a long-standing relationship and robust engagement of its employees. Current signature programs include:
    • The United Way. Black & Veatch is a leading corporate supporter of the United Way, with employees in regional offices across the United States donating time and money to the organization. In 2015, Black & Veatch professionals, together with the Black & Veatch Foundation, donated $2.3 million to the United Way.
    • Engineers Without Borders. Black & Veatch encourages and supports its engineers around the world who work on EWB projects in their regions. The firm has active involvement in more than 20 U.S.-based EWB chapters, and plans to expand its support as chapters in other nations are developed.
    • Christmas in October. Hundreds of Black & Veatch employees and their friends and family members volunteer time and talents for the annual neighborhood restoration program, which benefits the firm’s hometown of Kansas City. They rehabilitate houses of low-income homeowners, particularly the elderly and disabled, in the greater Kansas City community.

Further information is available on the company’s website.

8/12/2016 12:00 AM

ITT supports a range of groups and causes, including disease prevention and treatment, improving local communities and providing basic needs.

OVERVIEW

ITT is a diversified manufacturer of highly engineered components and customized technology solutions for the energy, transportation and industrial markets. The company has four main operating segments: Industrial Process, which includes pumping systems, valves and services for oil and gas and chemical companies; Motion Technologies, which includes brake pads and friction materials for transportation purposes; Interconnect Solutions, which includes products for the fiber optic, power and other electronics markets; and Control Technologies, which includes valves, and switches used in aerospace applications. In 2015, the company reported sales of about $2.5 billion and employed about 9,700 workers.

GIVING

ITT’s corporate citizenship program includes cash and employee volunteer support for a range of groups and causes. Some recent examples of programs and organizations supported by the company and its employees include:

  • The National Women’s Hall of Fame. ITT is the founding sponsor of the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y., which is dedicated to honoring the outstanding achievements of women.
  • The Muscular Dystrophy Association. ITT has been raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association for 25 years, helping the organization in its mission to serve children and adults suffering from this progressive muscle-weakening disease. To date, ITT has collected and donated nearly $2.5 million to the organization.
  • Improving local communities. Each year, employees from ITT’s Control Technologies business take part in Make a Difference Day in the United States. Through this event, they volunteer with worthy charitable organizations serving their own communities.
  • Helping people in need. ITT’s Motion Technologies business in Barge, Italy, is helping to fund the construction of a social assistance center in its community. The center will provide local people and families in need with medical services, ambulance transport, clinical examinations, counseling services and food and clothing.

Visit the company’s website for more information.

8/2/2016 12:00 AM

New data show corporate giving has leveled off over the last two years but companies are investing in community affairs in other ways.

The latest data from the CECP and The Conference Board show that corporate charitable giving has leveled off over the last two years, with 2015 total giving—which includes direct corporate contributions, foundation grantmaking and noncash giving—logging in just 1 percent higher than 2013.

According to the groups’ latest Giving in Numbers survey, the stability in aggregate total giving masks a fair bit of up-and-down movement when looking at specific industries. For example, the consumer staples industry increased its median total giving not only in absolute terms but also as a proportion of revenues and pretax profits, while the health care industry reported median giving totals almost 20 percent lower than 2013 levels, along with lower figures both in terms of proportion of revenues and pretax profits. Other industries showed a mix of increases and declines in giving totals, depending largely on individual financial performance.

The more interesting data points, however, have more to do with how companies are changing their tactics to maximize their societal engagement strategies, according to the CECP. The group highlighted several key findings from the report:

  • Companies are increasingly sharing information on societal commitments as an indicator of business strength, as 56 percent of companies reported environmental, social and governance information to investors or the company’s investor relations department.
  • Companies are pushing employee volunteerism in a big way, and it’s paying off. Employee volunteer participation rates continued to rise to 33 percent in 2015, from 28 percent in 2013. On average, companies are now offering five different employee volunteer programs, such as employee volunteer awards, dollars-for-doers programs, companywide volunteer days, flexible scheduling, paid release time and pro bono programs.
  • Companies continued to add to their community investment teams, the report shows. Full-time giving team employees rose 3 percent from 2013 to 2015, while total number of employees dropped 2 percent, demonstrating the resiliency of giving teams.
  • Measuring outcomes became a more widespread practice, with some 87 percent of companies undertaking some level of impact measurement. That’s up from 79 percent in 2013.

According to Carmen Perez, the CECP’s director of evaluation and data insights, the figures relating to reporting ESG data to investors are an eye-opener.

“It shows that investors are increasingly interested in these aspects of a company,” she told Corporate Philanthropy Report. This is different from the corporate social responsibility reports that just about all companies issue, she said. This is information and data that is specifically requested by investors, be it one influential stockholder or a group of institutional investors, that can have an impact on stock prices. “Investors want to look at information that is critical to evaluating the company,” Perez said. “And they’ve decided that these investments—which are very large for most of these companies—are material information.”

Another interesting data point is the increase in the portion of companies offering pro bono programs as a key form of employee volunteer support, she said. Per the survey, pro bono programs have gone up by almost 10 percent in the past two years—a sign that companies are getting more creative about how to use the full range of resources at their disposal.

“Companies are really thinking about how they can drive change in their communities,” Perez said. “It’s a natural evolution in thinking,” she said, in terms of finding ways to leverage their employees’ skills—whether that’s the legal department, marketing, communications or elsewhere—to help their nonprofit partners.

The benefits of that are many, as evidenced by the rapid growth in pro bono and skills-based volunteerism more broadly. But it does have its drawbacks, she said.

“Many companies struggle with tracking the hours that go into pro bono,” Perez said. “That should be reported in our report as noncash giving, and it’s there in the data if they can track it. But many times companies can’t report it because they don’t really know how many hours each employee has put into a project. It’s a challenge.”

Considering the level of investment companies are putting into their giving programs, it’s likely that challenge will be addressed in due time, as having accurate data about total giving becomes ever more important—and advantageous—for companies.

For more information, including data from the Giving in Numbers survey, visit www.cecp.co.

News Briefs
8/27/2016 12:00 AM

AT&T has selected 18 nonprofits to share $10 million through the Aspire Connect to Success Competition.

AT&T has selected 18 nonprofits to share $10 million through the Aspire Connect to Success Competition. The awardees serve a combined 29,000 high school students in 14 states and the District of Columbia, and have demonstrated their effectiveness in helping high school students graduate ready for college or a career. The program supports organizations whose focus includes the delivery of integrated student supports, college or career preparation, and/or mentoring. For example, the YMCA of Greater New York will receive $250,000 to expand Y Scholars. The college access and success initiative provides services to underserved students in New York City. Another awardee, Family Connection-Communities In Schools of Athens, Georgia, will receive $1 million to place site coordinators in three high-poverty high schools. The coordinators will provide targeted and schoolwide interventions to increase graduation rates and improve student achievement.

News Briefs
8/24/2016 12:00 AM

Charity Navigator, a popular online resource for evaluating U.S.-based nonprofit organizations, has implemented an enhanced charity rating system.

Charity Navigator, a popular online resource for evaluating U.S.-based nonprofit organizations, has implemented an enhanced charity rating system, dubbed CN 2.1, that it says will provide potential donors with more information to make smarter giving decisions. Of the 8,000 charities rated by Charity Navigator, over a quarter received new ratings under the CN 2.1 system, the organization said. In evaluating a nonprofit, Charity Navigator looks at two broad categories of organizational performance: (1) financial health and (2) accountability and transparency. Under CN 2.1, the seven metrics used to assess a charity’s financial health were updated, with no changes made to the accountability and transparency metrics, the group said. More specifically, the new rating system allows for higher scores in program expense, removes the often-volatile primary revenue growth metric, includes three-year averaging and introduces a new capacity metric—Liabilities to Assets Ratio. The revised metrics better capture an organization’s financial efficiency and capacity, Charity Navigator said.

News Briefs
8/20/2016 12:00 AM

The Foundation Center has rolled out a new set of tools to help users of its IssueLab service share reports, case studies, evaluations and other knowledge.

The Foundation Center has rolled out a new set of tools to help users of its IssueLab service share reports, case studies, evaluations and other knowledge created by foundations, nonprofits and university-based research centers. The result of a yearlong revamp, the new IssueLab platform makes it easier to upload, discover and freely share research by providing metadata and links to original documents on publishers’ websites, the Foundation Center said. New features include an improved interface that makes it easier and faster to upload research to IssueLab and share items via a website, blog or on social media; filtered search, the ability to curate user libraries and “what to read next” suggestions for related research to streamline and improve user experience; the ability to issue Digital Object Identifiers for qualifying resources ensuring long-term discoverability and accessibility across the internet and on archival sites such as WorldCat, the world’s largest library catalog; and metadata such as keyword search, date published, geography and language to facilitate powerful search and browsing across 38 different issue areas.

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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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