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Industry News
8/26/2014 12:00 AM

A new study from the mGive Foundation shows that making charitable donations via text message is becoming more popular and is an effective way to engage donors.

“Fast and easy and timely and trusted.”

“Spur of the moment philanthropy.”

“No excuses not to donate.”

These are just some of the ways in which the American public describes donating to charity via text messages, according to a newly released study conducted by the mGive Foundation. And if trends continue, the public’s “thumbs up” for this newest donation channel is likely to improve even more in the future as charitable groups integrate content delivery and mobile-optimized websites with their text donation campaigns.

The 2014 mGive Text Donation Study found improvements across the board when it comes to how American donors view contributions made via text. For example:

  • Text donations are gaining in popularity among older adults, with the Boomers 2 group—those born between 1955 and 1965—constituting the largest group of respondents in this year’s survey, at 29 percent. Altogether, both Boomer groups—those born between 1945 and 1965—comprised 46 percent of text donors in 2013, the survey found. Last year, Millennials comprised the largest block, at 24 percent of text donors, the same percentage they represented in this year’s survey.
  • 98 percent of those who had made a donation via text message in 2013 said their mobile donation experience was “excellent” or “good,” compared to 85 percent the prior year. That’s higher than any other donation channel, the study shows.
  • Text donations scored as the most preferred method for making a donation among this group, edging out online Web donations and special events for second and third place, respectively.
  • Mobile donors were more likely to give at higher amounts this year, with 46 percent reporting they gave $250 or more in 2013, compared to 42 percent the year before.
  • Text donors said they were more inclined to continue giving by text donation this year compared with last year, with 85 percent saying they would give again, a 13-point jump from the prior year.
  • Support among text donors for making donations via more traditional methods jumped up four percentage points from last year’s survey, from 85 percent to 89 percent, confirming that giving via text does not “cannibalize” or detract from other methods of donating, the study said.
  • Support for giving larger donations by text grew as well, with 70 percent saying they would like to give $25 via their mobile device (current limits are $5 and $10). This is an increase from 65 percent in 2013’s study, the group said.

Notably, cause marketing campaigns are a key driver of text donations, with about two-thirds of respondents saying they were more likely to make a text donation if a company or brand makes the solicitation. Support for cause marketing was strongest among Baby Boomers, and a top choice among all age groups except “Gen Thumb,” a group also known as Gen Z and defined by mGive as those born in 1995 or later. For this cohort, the most-cited incentive was being entered into a sweepstakes if they donated via text.

More good news from the study: Text donors increasingly want news, updates and volunteer information for the organizations they support sent to them via text message, with about 58 percent of respondents preferring this. That’s an increase of 20 percentage points since 2012. Further, some 45 percent of text donors reported using their mobile phones to make a donation through a charity’s website.

These two findings, the study suggests, show that text donors are actively seeking further engagement with the groups and causes they support, providing an avenue for nonprofits to increase donations and volunteer support in the future. Key to that, mGive says, is optimizing text messages, emails and websites—especially donation pages—so that the user has a rich and uniform experience regardless of whether they access the information from a desktop computer, tablet or cell phone.

For more information, or to access the study in full, go to www.mgive.org.

8/12/2014 12:00 AM

Rockwell Collins’ philanthropy is targeted on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education; health and human services; and environmental groups serving the communities where the company operates.

OVERVIEW

Rockwell Collins is a leading developer and manufacturer of communication and aviation electronics for both commercial and government applications. The company offers expertise in flight-deck avionics, cabin electronics, mission communications, simulation and training, and information management, among other areas, with its operations divided into two primary segments: commercial systems, which makes avionics and in-flight entertainment systems for commercial aircraft, and government systems, which develops communication systems with military applications, mainly for the U.S. government. In 2013, the company posted sales of about $4.6 billion and employed roughly 18,300 workers worldwide.

GIVING

Rockwell Collins has two primary philanthropic vehicles: the Rockwell Collins Charitable Corporation and the Rockwell Collins Community Partnership Fund. Through these entities, the company supports a range of charitable groups and causes benefiting the local communities where the company does business.

The Rockwell Collins Charitable Corporation was established for the purpose of supporting qualified nonprofit organizations in the communities where Rockwell employees live and work. These grants are targeted for major projects and programs and generally total $5,000 or more. Priority funding areas include education—especially science, technology, engineering and math—with an emphasis on youth educational programming.

Meanwhile, the purpose of the Rockwell Collins Community Partnership Fund is to support nonprofit groups via fundraising, sponsorships, and other events and activities. These grants are typically less than $5,000 and are made in communities around the United States where Rockwell Collins has facilities and at least 100 employees.

Education-related endeavors receive the bulk of the company’s charity, with support given to numerous STEM-related programs and initiatives. Some notable examples include:

  • The FIRST Connection. The company has a long-established partnership with FIRST, a nonprofit organization coordinating multinational programs that team professionals and young people to solve engineering design problems in intense and competitive ways. Rockwell’s support includes team and tournament sponsorships, teacher training and rewards, and Rockwell Collins employee and retiree involvement.
  • As part of this effort, Rockwell’s engineers assist elementary and middle school students participating in FIRST LEGO League, where they build unique robot inventions by using LEGO bricks and other elements such as sensors, motors and gears. The company has committed to growing the number of FIRST LEGO teams in Iowa and in Rockwell Collins communities across the United States, to involve and inspire more students.

    In addition, the FIRST Tech Challenge—which involves high school students—combines the project approach of FIRST LEGO League with the excitement and innovation of FIRST robotics. Students work in teams to design, test and program larger-scale robots. Rockwell Collins supports teams and tournaments throughout Iowa, with the goal of having FIRST Tech Challenge teams in every high school in the state.

  • Engineers Week. Rockwell Collins is a leading corporate supporter of Engineers Week, and its employees participate in EWeek activities across the country as a way to encourage young people to consider engineering as a career. Formal activities include Introduce a Girl to Engineering and the 24-Hour Global Marathon—activities for, by and about women in engineering—as well as free, hands-on engineering activities in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City corridor and other locations.
  • Employee volunteers coordinate hands-on activities for K–12 students, mentor high school and college students and engage math and science educators in special events during EWeek. In addition, Rockwell supports the Future City Competition, which challenges seventh- and eighth-grade students from around the country to team with engineer mentors to create—first on computer and then in large, three-dimensional models—their visions of the city of tomorrow.

  • Project Lead the Way. Through partnerships with middle schools and high schools, Project Lead the Way pairs students with educators as they go through rigorous, relevant STEM coursework.
  • Team America Rocketry Challenge. The Team America Rocketry Challenge is the world’s largest rocket contest, sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry. Students are encouraged to study math and science and pursue careers in aerospace through a competition that challenges teams to design, build and fly model rockets. Approximately 7,000 students from across the nation compete in the challenge each year, and winners are invited to participate in NASA advanced rocketry programs.
  • Career Awareness. Each year, 100 to 200 high school students shadow a Rockwell Collins professional for half a day as part of the company’s job shadowing program, designed to introduce young people to potential careers. High school juniors and seniors can also learn how business operates and apply classroom concepts to real-world situations while exploring future careers through longer-term internships at Rockwell Collins facilities.

The company also contributes to health and human services and civic organizations, especially those with which its employees are involved as volunteers. However, the majority of gifts to these organizations are made through corporate contributions or employee giving campaigns benefiting the United Way.

The company also contributes to select groups and initiatives aimed at protecting or enhancing the natural environment in communities where Rockwell Collins operates. The company’s Green Communities program is intended to help fund environmental projects that result in tangible improvement in the environmental condition of the community and have sustainable project benefits.

Examples include conservation of natural resources and raw materials, improvement of impacts on environmental media, and restoration or development of ecological habitat.

Further information is available on the company’s website.

7/29/2014 12:00 AM

FedEx focuses its charitable giving on emergency response and disaster relief, child pedestrian safety and environmental sustainability.

OVERVIEW

FedEx and its various operating units, which include FedEx Express, FedEx Ground and FedEx Freight, provide a range of transportation, delivery and business services to retail and commercial clients around the world. FedEx Express is the world’s top express transportation provider, delivering about 3.5 million packages each day to more than 220 countries and territories via a network of about 2,000 FedEx Office stores. Goods are transported and delivered using a fleet of over 690 aircraft and more than 50,000 motor vehicles and trailers. The FedEx Ground unit provides small-package ground delivery in North America, while FedEx Freight handles larger shipments for commercial clients. In 2013, the company reported sales of about $44.2 billion and employed about 160,700 workers worldwide.

GIVING

FedEx’s philanthropy is focused on three core giving areas: disaster relief, child pedestrian safety and environmental sustainability. In each of these, the company partners with leading national and international nonprofit organizations and provides a combination of cash, in-kind and volunteer support.

The company’s contributions to disaster relief groups and programs are multifaceted. The company has long offered up its nearly 700 planes, 75,000 trucks and extensive transportation and logistics network to deliver critical supplies, services and expertise to support victims of natural disasters the world over.

FedEx works with a number of international disaster response organizations that bring relief to victims, including the American Red Cross, Direct Relief International, Heart to Heart International and the Salvation Army. Each year, the company sets aside space for as much as four million pounds of disaster-related charitable shipping. The company also invests in preparedness initiatives for families and small businesses, and supports long-term recovery efforts in communities like New Orleans and Haiti that face rebuilding and recovery efforts that can last years.

FedEx also supports a range of groups and programs aimed at keeping child pedestrians safe through increasing awareness and knowledge of pedestrian safety as an issue, helping change unsafe child pedestrian behaviors and/or creating environmental improvements to keep child pedestrians safe in local communities.

In this area, FedEx works closely with global organizations to help prevent pedestrian-related injury and death and educate the public about road safety. Most significantly, the company works closely with Safe Kids Worldwide, an international organization devoted to preventing unintentional childhood injury, and Brake, a road safety group located in the United Kingdom.

The company’s work with Safe Kids Worldwide has included support of the Safe Kids Walk This Way program, which teaches safe behaviors to motorists and children and works to create safer, more pedestrian-friendly communities.

In addition, FedEx also partnered with Safe Kids Worldwide in establishing the Task Force grant program, which drew upon input from key community members to identify and improve a specific walking environment for child pedestrians — for example, installing speed bumps or adding countdown signals with child-friendly buttons to stoplights.

More recently, FedEx has supported the FedEx & Brake Road Safety Academy in the United Kingdom. The Academy trains individuals to deliver road-safety presentations to teenagers, parents and company drivers.

The company’s support for environmental initiatives falls under the enterprise-wide sustainability program, EarthSmart, which includes outreach efforts that focus on three areas:

  1. Sustainable transportation. The company supports programs that benefit the environment by reducing emissions and congestion, enhancing safety and expanding accessibility.
  2. Sustainable cities. This includes support for healthy, environmentally responsible urban environments through the conservation and restoration of parks and green space along with sustainable development practices.
  3. Sustainable ecosystems. The company supports programs that promote ecosystem viability through sustainable forestry, rehabilitating natural habitats impacted by disaster and improving disaster resilience.

In addition, FedEx has established several flagship charitable partnerships with leading nonprofit groups, including:

  • The United Way. The company’s support for the United Way dates back almost 40 years and encompasses several programs and initiatives, such as:
    • FedEx Cares Week. Each fall, FedEx employees participate in FedEx Cares Week, a week-long volunteer event that benefits local communities and the United Way. Throughout the week, communities across the country host days of service, allowing more than 2,100 FedEx employees to volunteer their time in support of projects ranging from refurbishing and beautifying local agencies, building playgrounds and painting child-care centers to sorting and organizing donated food items at local food banks. Events have been held in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, New York, Newark, Oakland, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
    • Alternative Spring Break. For the past several years, FedEx has supported the United Way’s Alternative Spring Break program, which recruits, organizes and otherwise supports hundreds of young people to dedicate their Spring Breaks volunteering with charitable groups. Recent projects have included renovating affordable housing, improving child-care centers and building ramps to provide people with disabilities a safe means of leaving and returning to their homes in Detroit; helping rebuild houses destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in Hancock County, Miss.; and rebuilding homes in Lake Charles, La., that were destroyed by Hurricane Rita.
    • Loaned Executives. Every year, FedEx selects a group of employees to participate in the Loaned Executive program. The three-month program lets employees assist fundraising efforts at their local United Way. FedEx has “loaned” more than 650 employees since the program began.
  • ORBIS International. The company supports this group’s efforts to bring much-needed eye care to people worldwide who are suffering from preventable blindness. ORBIS operates the Flying Eye Hospital, a DC-10 aircraft that contains a teaching facility and ophthalmic surgery center. Volunteer pilots from FedEx fly the plane to remote locations across the globe, where medical teams perform surgeries, conduct training sessions and educate communities about blindness prevention and treatment. Since the Flying Eye Hospital took flight in 1982, more than 6.8 million people worldwide have been treated, 360,000 surgeries have been completed, and 195,000 eye care professionals have been trained aboard the hospital, FedEx said. The company supports the plane’s maintenance, making it possible for ORBIS to operate the current Flying Eye Hospital at nominal expense, and FedEx also provides complimentary transportation for critically needed medical supplies headed to ORBIS-hospital-based programs around the world.

Further information is available on the company’s website.

News Briefs
8/25/2014 12:00 AM

SunTrust Banks awarded a $250,000 grant to Orlando Health for the construction of a new patient tower in central Florida.

Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks has awarded a $250,000 grant to Orlando Health, a community-based network of physician practices, hospitals and care centers in central Florida, for the construction of a new patient tower. According to the company, the donation—the latest in an 80-year philanthropic partnership between the two entities—will support Orlando Regional Medical Center’s new redesign and renovation project, which is currently under way. The project will allow the hospital to foster a new patient experience, including greater accessibility to clinical experts, more coordinated and collaborated care, advanced diagnostics and more timely results, the foundation said.

News Briefs
8/13/2014 12:00 AM

The Citi Foundation awarded $2.1 million in grants to support mentoring and career counseling programs for high-potential students from low-income households.

The Citi Foundation awarded $2.1 million in grants to support initiatives by Management Leadership for Tomorrow and iMentor to connect high-potential students from low-income households with early- to mid-career professionals to provide critical career counseling and mentoring. The grants are part of the Pathways to Progress initiative, the Citi Foundation’s three-year $50 million commitment to bolster economic opportunity for 100,000 low-income youth in 10 cities across the United States. The new grants include $1.1 million to launch MLT Ascend, which will connect nearly 1,000 undergraduate students across the country with the mentors, skills and opportunities necessary to pursue the career path of their choice; and $1 million to iMentor to help expand the organization’s successful mentoring program, which pairs high school students from low-income communities with college-educated adult mentors.

News Briefs
8/6/2014 12:00 AM

Chrysler, Ford and GM have pledged $26 million to help the Detroit Institute of Arts keep its collection in public hands.

The Chrysler Group LLC, the Ford Motor Company, General Motors and the General Motors Foundation have pledged a total of $26 million in support of 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. The $26 million consists of $10 million from the Ford Motor Company Fund, $5 million from General Motors, $5 million from the General Motors Foundation and $6 million from the Chrysler Group. The arrangement will provide Detroit’s pensioners with more than $800 million from local donors, local and national foundations and the state of Michigan over a 20-year period, the DIA said. 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
    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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