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6/29/2015 12:00 AM

The International Paper Foundation supports nonprofit groups in communities where IP does business, mainly in the areas of literacy and environmental education.


International Paper is a leading global manufacturer of paper and paper products. With operations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Asia and Africa, the company’s product line includes uncoated paper used in printers, coated paper and cardboard used in various forms of packaging, and raw wood pulp used to make paper towels and bath tissues. In 2014, the company reported sales of $23.6 billion and employed some 58,000 workers worldwide.


IP conducts much of its charitable giving via the International Paper Foundation, which the company established in 1952 to support nonprofit groups serving the various communities where IP has business operations. The foundation has two primary areas of interest:

  • Environmental education. The foundation funds programs that help both younger and older generations understand a sustainable approach balancing environmental, social and economic needs. Within this subject area, the foundation focuses on:
    • National Geographic Kids magazine subscriptions at schools in local communities.
    • Earth’s Birthday Project kits for children.
    • Science-based programs targeting children.
    • Outdoor classrooms at schools or in communities.
    • Outdoor science programs tied to forestry, air or water.
    • Education-based programs that promote recycling, tree planting and composting initiatives.
  • Literacy. In this area, the foundation supports the National Geographic Explorer magazine, which aids in developing literacy skills for children in grades 4 and 5, as well as:
    • Programs that enhance the availability of reading materials at school and community libraries.
    • Programs that enhance the reading skills of children and adults.
    • Programs that teach English as a Second Language.

In addition, the foundation provides limited funding to groups or projects in the following areas:

  • Employee involvement. The foundation gives special consideration to grant applications from nonprofit organizations with which IP employees volunteer or otherwise support through board service. These grants, which can range up to $5,000 each, may fall outside of the foundation’s primary focus areas, so long as the employee has volunteered or served on the organization’s board for at least six months prior to application.
  • New critical community need. The foundation will provide limited funding to new critical needs in communities where IP has operations. Consideration will be given to one-time, non-recurring needs, which are demonstrated by a gathering of the local community in a concerted effort that benefits the community at large.

Additionally, the foundation helps facilitate a special partnership with the World Food Program that provides nutritious meals to children in need in poverty-stricken areas of Nairobi, Kenya. The initiative, dubbed Coins 4 Kids, is an employee-based giving program that uses employee contributions and a matching foundation grant to provide meals to pre-primary- and primary-aged schoolchildren near Nairobi. Supporters participate by collecting spare money in a red coin-collection cup—similar to the cup the WFP fills with nutritious food for kids. Participants can also start their own personal Coins 4 Kids online fundraising campaign. Since its launch in 2004, Coins 4 Kids has provided more than 26 million children in Nairobi with nutritious school meals.

For further information, visit the company’s website.

6/9/2015 12:00 AM

The Air Products Foundation is focused on education, health and human services, community and economic development, arts and culture, and the environment.


Air Products is a leading industrial gases company. The firm provides atmospheric, process and specialty gases—such as argon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen—and related equipment to manufacturing markets, including metals, food and beverage, refining, and petrochemical and natural gas liquefaction. Air Products’ materials technologies segment serves the semiconductor, polyurethanes, cleaning, and coatings and adhesives industries. With operations in more than 50 countries, the company reported sales of about $10.3 billion in 2014 and employed about 21,200 workers.


Air Products conducts its philanthropy mainly through the Air Products Foundation, which supports nonprofit charitable groups serving the various communities around the world where the company has operations.

Through the foundation, Air Products provides cash and in-kind contributions, as well as employee volunteer support, to groups and initiatives focused on education, health and human services, community and economic development, arts and culture, and the environment.

Some examples of the company’s charitable investments are:

  • The Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation. Air Products is partnering with the Hong Kong–based Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation to develop and deliver the REACH (Resiliency Education: Advocacy, Collaboration & Hope) education program to Shanghai youth. Air Products employees volunteer to teach four courses covering the topics of self-image, managing emotions, team building and leadership.
  • SkillsUSA and WorldSkills. SkillsUSA and WorldSkills is a global partnership that provides cutting-edge training and leadership development to career and technical students to prepare them for today’s highly skilled workforce. In the United States, SkillsUSA and Air Products partner to provide training to thousands of high school and college students in over 100 career areas. Air Products provides employee volunteers, financial support, mentoring for students and teachers, and ongoing leadership for SkillsUSA and WorldSkills.
  • Mentoring Buddy. Air Products employees in Texas, Indiana and Pennsylvania volunteer their time every week to mentor an elementary student at a local school. Each year over 100 employees dedicate an hour a week and share one-on-one time with their buddy. The students who participate are selected by the school because they have some special needs at school or at home, including academic, family or social struggles.
  • Renovating sports fields in Poland. Air Products helped renovate the outdoor sports facilities at Primary School No. 12 in Kędzierzyn Koźle, Poland, which were destroyed during a recent flood. The company’s employees helped to restore parts of the school fields, and the company provided financial support as well. Air Products is also partnering with the school as part of its global Science Ambassadors program. Employees volunteer their time to present hands-on activities and demonstrations, while sharing their knowledge and passion for science with the school’s young students.

In the United States, the foundation also administers a matching gift program to enable employees to double their donations to eligible higher education institutions and qualifying nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. Gifts to accredited colleges and universities are currently matched 1-for-1, up to $5,000 annually per eligible employee. Gifts to arts groups are currently matched 2-for-1, up to $2,000 annually per eligible employee.

Further information is available on the company’s website.

Program Profile
6/4/2015 12:00 AM

Build-A-Bear combined its new product launch with a new philanthropy program aimed at teaching kids about responsible pet ownership and promoting pet adoption.

It’s often a fine line between marketing a product and publicizing a community investment that involves that product. On the one hand, companies don’t want to come off as “only doing it for the publicity” in the minds of consumers. On the other, it’s important—to most companies at least—to get some public recognition for charitable pursuits that builds goodwill and leads to—yes—business advantages.

Threading that needle is Build-A-Bear and its new product line, the Promise Pets, which is both a consumer product aimed squarely at its target demographic and a philanthropic investment helping to instill responsibility in children and build public awareness of homeless pets and the charities that help find them loving adoptive families.

According to the company, this is Build-A-Bear’s most realistic plush toy collection to date—mainly because it features a complementary mobile app families can download to bring the experience of pet care to life, teaching children about animal care through an interactive play experience.

“In line with our strategic product expansion initiative to create ‘play beyond the plush,’ our Promise Pets interactive app provides a platform to teach children the importance of animal welfare and responsibility for their care,” said Gina Collins, chief marketing officer for Build-A-Bear.

The Promise Pets app teaches children about such pet-related topics as:

  • Feeding. Children learn about the importance of feeding pets on a schedule, using portion control, providing plenty of water and providing proper levels of snacks and treats.
  • Potty training. Children are taught some of the basics of potty training—especially the importance of establishing a routine and having lots of practice.
  • Vet checkups. Children learn the importance of proper veterinary care for their pets, keeping a record of their pet’s normal health and behavior, and catching signs of illness as early as possible.
  • Exercise. The app reinforces the importance of doing daily activities with pets, such as walking or playing with toys, and how that helps maintain their physical and mental health.
  • Grooming. It also emphasizes the importance of keeping pets well-groomed, which for many animals involves regularly bathing, checking for fleas and brushing.

The app keeps its young users engaged by having them start as “Pet Care Rookies” and work their way up through five levels of certification to earn the ultimate “Pet Care Pro” status—learning all about personal responsibility along the way.

The product launch was further leveraged for charity through a companywide fundraising campaign benefiting and the Petfinder Foundation. From April 9—the date of the Promise Pets release—through May 31, Build-A-Bear customers in the United States are being asked to make donations via in-store or online checkout to the Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation to support a national grant program, to be administered by the Petfinder Foundation, to support local educational outreach programs that teach children about caring for pets. The Build-A-Bear website also features extensive information about Petfinder Foundation programs and other resources for those interested in helping pet adoption agencies in their local communities.

According to Emily Fesler, marketing manager at, the collaboration made the best use of Build-A-Bear’s products and brand positioning.

“Build-A-Bear is the perfect partner to help us educate families—especially children—about how they can help find happy homes for amazing pets currently available in shelters and rescues,” said Fesler. “We believe if children learn at a young age, their compassion for animals will carry through their entire lives and hopefully spur them to adopt pets of their own in the future.”

For its part, Build-A-Bear has garnered a fair amount of public awareness of its latest philanthropic effort, while successfully launching its newest product line and going a long way toward ensuring the next generation of responsible pet owners.

For more information, visit

News Briefs
6/23/2015 12:00 AM

The Morgan Stanley Foundation has awarded $1 million in grants to local food banks in 24 cities across 17 states to support hunger-relief programs.

The Morgan Stanley Foundation has awarded $1 million in grants to local food banks in 24 cities across 17 states to support hunger-relief programs that deliver nutritious meals to children and families. Through its partnership with Feeding America, the foundation has awarded more than $14 million to the organization and its network of 200 local food banks that help address childhood hunger through a series of programs that provide nutritious food to children and their families. Through its BackPack and School Pantry programs, the food banks provide families with nutritious foods that are considered necessary for a healthy life. Feeding America is also a lead national partner in the United States for the Morgan Stanley Healthy Cities initiative, which brings together national and local nonprofits to create a linked network of nutritious food, safe play spaces, and wellness education and health screening for children and families of communities in need.

News Briefs
6/15/2015 12:00 AM

Wells Fargo has launched a new $4.75 million initiative to boost homeownership and strengthen local neighborhoods in the Albuquerque, N.M., region.

Wells Fargo has launched a new $4.75 million initiative to boost homeownership and strengthen local neighborhoods in the Albuquerque, N.M, region. Working with NeighborWorks America and its affiliate Homestart, the Wells Fargo HomeLIFT program will provide down-payment assistance grants of $15,000 to eligible homebuyers with annual incomes that do not exceed 120 percent of the Albuquerque area median income—which is about $71,300 for a family of four. To be eligible, homebuyers must meet criteria including completing an eight-hour homebuyer education session with Homestart or another Department of Housing and Urban Development–approved counseling agency. Those receiving grants must also commit to live in the home for five years.

News Briefs
6/1/2015 12:00 AM

The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation has announced a major expansion of its Replenish Africa Initiative, which supports safe water access and sanitation programs.

The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation has announced a major expansion of its Replenish Africa Initiative, pledging an additional $35 million to support Pan-African safe water access and sanitation programs for 4 million more people by 2020. This new funding builds on an original RAIN commitment of $30 million to bring safe water access to 2 million people across the African continent by the end of 2015, which the foundation announced in 2009. This funding will help to improve the lives of more than a total of 6 million Africans through access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene by 2020. Through the RAIN program expansion, the foundation said it and its partners will also work to economically empower up to 250,000 women and youth; promote health and hygiene in thousands of communities, schools and health centers; and return up to 18.5 billion liters of water to nature and communities.


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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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