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10/3/2015 12:00 AM

New survey data show that companies are increasingly leveraging their broader business resources for charitable purposes.

Data from the most recent Giving in Numbers survey, conducted by the CECP and The Conference Board, show that companies are increasingly leveraging their broader business resources for charitable purposes, as opposed to relying solely on cash and product donations.

Looking at data on corporate charitable giving from 2012 through 2014, the CECP said, five trends emerge on that front:

  • More are leveraging employees for social causes. The number of firms leveraging their employees to contribute to the company’s philanthropic investment increased, with pro bono programs rising from 40 percent of companies to 53 percent of companies surveyed, and nonprofit board leadership rising from 40 percent up to 51 percent of companies, the CECP said. Meanwhile, some 60 percent of companies offered their employees paid-release time, making it the most common type of employee volunteerism program.
  • Growth in innovative programs. Companies continued to support the traditional forms of community investment activities tracked in the Giving in Numbers survey, the CECP said, but they also increased the number of innovative forms of engagement—such as cross-company collaborations, new product development and impact investing strategies that are relatively new to the field. Measurements for these novel programs are still under development, the CECP said, but informal polling has shown that nearly 90 percent of companies are involved in some type of community investment activity not currently counted by Giving in Numbers.
  • More emphasis on measurement. The survey found that some 85 percent of companies now formally measure the impact of their community investment programs. Interestingly, companies that measured results also showed a higher rate of giving, possibly indicating a virtuous cycle where understanding the impact of an investment leads to more confidence in the program and, thus, additional investment.
  • Driving performance through purpose. According to the survey data, companies that increased giving by 10 percent or more over the 2012–2014 period saw a 14 percent median growth rate in pretax profits. Likewise, the CECP said, companies with the strongest business performance grew giving by the greatest rates—also indicating a relationship that is mutually reinforcing.
  • Elevating the role within the company. Even during hiring freezes and downsizing, the community investment department at most companies was resilient over the two-year period, the data show. Community affairs staff numbers stayed the same or grew for 65 percent of companies that decreased overall headcount.

According to Alex Parkinson, lead researcher at The Conference Board, the data “show a corporate giving landscape that continues to evolve as it increasingly becomes a strategic imperative at companies.”

For more information, visit

Program Profile
10/2/2015 12:00 AM

Amgen launched a new partnership with the University of California, Berkeley to fund a graduate-level course on measuring outcomes of cancer patient advocacy programs.

With social impact measurement becoming increasingly important to donors of all types—individuals, corporations and foundations—nonprofits have rightly begun to allocate serious resources to evaluating their programs and quantifying the progress they are making in their missions. However, as numerous recent studies suggest, the sector continues to struggle in obtaining cash and nonmonetary support that specifically helps with this important activity, decrying a “catch-22” where funders require more and more evidence of program effectiveness but withhold the resources for obtaining it.

Bucking this trend is biotechnology firm Amgen and its new, multiyear partnership with the University of California, Berkeley that takes aim at an issue close to the company’s heart—cancer treatment. Under the partnership, the two will fund a graduate-level course on measuring outcomes of cancer patient advocacy education and support programs. The course, Social Impact Metrics, is designed to advance the ability of nonprofits to measure the effectiveness of their programs, with the ultimate goal to create a set of “measurement best practices” that can be adopted across the cancer nonprofit community and beyond, the groups said.

The idea for the partnership was borne out of a survey of cancer-oriented nonprofits conducted by Amgen in 2013. The study found that creating robust metrics can be a challenge in the social impact field, even as funders and other stakeholders call for stronger and more significant measures of effectiveness.

Working cooperatively with the university and the MBA students will be four cancer patient advocacy groups that will use grants from Amgen to measure the impact of their educational and/or support initiatives. The students and faculty will work with the groups to evaluate a specific metrics challenge, recommend a solution and provide an implementation plan by the end of the course in December, the company said.

Each of the groups below will receive $35,000 grants to support their end of the project:

  • The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, which will work to measure the impact of its Patient Webinar Series, which was launched in 2012 to address a variety of education topics and features bladder cancer experts from highly regarded medical institutions.
  • The Cancer Support Community, which will work to measure the impact of the CSC Cancer Support Helpline, which reaches thousands of patients, family members and health care professionals each year using licensed mental health professionals who provide telephone support interventions that help patients and caregivers identify and address needs and link them to vital information and resources.
  • The Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation, which will evaluate the impact of its clinical trial database, Blue Data, which is designed to provide a simple and user-friendly interface that allows patients to accelerate the process of identifying appropriate clinical trials for participation and simplifying the screening process.
  • Critical Mass, which will measure the impact of its “Mission Control” localized search engine of programs and services specifically curated for adolescents and young adults with cancer.

According to Amgen, the project will culminate in a set of best practices in nonprofit programming and metrics that will not only benefit the partnering organizations, but also the patient advocacy community at large that can modify their programs to maximize impact based on the case study solutions.

“Amgen and other health care companies provide substantial support to patient advocacy organizations with the hope that, together, we are making a difference in meeting the needs of patients and families,” said Amgen Senior Vice President Raymond Jordan in announcing the project. “By measuring the impact of these programs, we can learn how to be more effective in achieving our shared goal of improving the lives of people with cancer.”

Because the solutions generated through the program will be directly applicable to its own philanthropic efforts, Amgen is ensuring that its social investments are achieving the greatest possible impact, while also giving future social-sector professionals the tools they will need to evaluate the impact of other charitable groups down the line.

For more information, visit

9/30/2015 12:00 AM

Fiskars’ charitable giving goes to support local organizations with programs in the areas of children and families, arts and culture, and the environment.


Established in 1649 as an ironworks in a small Finnish village, Fiskars has grown to be a leading consumer goods company with globally recognized brands, including Fiskars, Iittala, Gerber, Wedgwood and Waterford. Perhaps best known for its iconic orange-handled scissors, the company also makes cutting tools for gardening, crafts, the classroom and the office; and markets cooking utensils, cookware and tableware under the Fiskars, Iittala, Arabia and Kitchen Devils brands. In 2014, the company posted sales of about $932 million and employed nearly 9,000 workers.


Fiskars’ charitable giving goes to support local organizations in the communities where it operates, with the bulk of its giving falling under three broad categories:

  • Children and families. The company seeks to nourish the next generation by ensuring young people have a safe and happy childhood. To that end, the company launched a partnership with SOS Children’s Villages in Finland, supporting the young people leaving SOS Children’s Villages with a “Fiskars Start-Kit for Your Home & Kitchen,” a basic set of dishes, cutlery, pans and other practical items.
  • The environment. Fiskars’ flagship environmental initiative is dubbed Project Orange Thumb, a community gardening initiative providing groups with the tools, materials and resources they need to create beautiful and productive community garden spaces. Launched in 2002, the program provided 10 garden grants made up of tools and cash to community groups across North America and transformed empty lots into fruitful community gardens. In 2015, the company expanded the program, providing 30 awards of cash and product valued at $3,500 each.
  • Arts and culture. Fiskars supports various efforts aimed at safeguarding and developing the cultural heritage associated with its birthplace, Fiskars Village. Founded in 1649, Fiskars Village evolved from the earliest times as an ironworks site to one of the biggest manufacturing sites of copper items in Finland in the late 1800s.
  • The village is also a home for art and design, with over 100 artists, designers and craftsmen calling it home. Overall, the village now enjoys international renown as a center of Finnish design and art, attracting around 150,000 visitors annually.

    The company also supports the Arabia Art Department Society in Finland, which was established in 2003. The main goal of the Art Department Society is to advance the status of ceramics art in the field of modern culture. It also seeks to develop the Finnish culture and establish new contacts internationally through ceramics.

    Additionally, the company supports Helsinki’s Design Museum, to which the Iittala and Nuutajärvi Glass Museums as well as the Arabia Museum collections currently belong.

For additional information, visit the company’s website.

News Briefs
10/8/2015 12:00 AM

The Coca-Cola Foundation awarded $26.2 million to 74 community organizations focused on the core areas of women, water and well-being.

The Coca-Cola Foundation has awarded a total of $26.2 million in grants to 74 community organizations focused on the Coca-Cola Company’s core sustainability priorities of women, water and well-being. The grants support diverse programs that will directly benefit 90.3 million people across 75 countries, the foundation said. It awarded $2.3 million to support women’s empowerment initiatives; $9.3 million to support water and environmental initiatives; $12.2 million to support well-being initiatives, including active healthy living, education, youth development and HIV/AIDS; and $1 million to support other community improvement, including disaster relief efforts.

News Briefs
10/6/2015 12:00 AM

Lowe’s has awarded a $1 million grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for improvement and renovation projects at 19 of its clubs across the country.

National home improvement chain Lowe’s has awarded a $1 million grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for improvement and renovation projects at 19 of its clubs across the country. The grant will fund needed repairs and upgrades, including safety enhancements, new flooring, kitchen expansions and new porches, the company said. Lowe’s support is aimed at helping the clubs remain safe and inviting places for youth who need them most. At many locations, Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers also donate their time and talent to help clubs complete their projects efficiently and safely, the company said. Since 2009, the company has contributed $6 million in grants and thousands of volunteer hours to fund improvements at more than 120 clubs across the country.

News Briefs
10/1/2015 12:00 AM

National sandwich chain Arby’s recently held a six-week-long campaign to raise awareness and funds to battle childhood hunger in communities across the country.

National sandwich chain Arby’s recently held a six-week-long campaign to raise awareness and funds to battle childhood hunger in communities across the country. From August 3 through September 13, the company hosted the 2015 Arby’s Foundation National Restaurant Fundraiser, where guests can make in-restaurant donations to support the Arby’s Foundation and its mission to end childhood hunger in partnership with No Kid Hungry. According to the company, guests who donated $1 or more at participating Arby’s restaurants during the campaign received a pin-up card to sign and hang on the walls of the restaurant to show their support. As a thank you for their donations, guests who made a donation of $1 or more also received a coupon for a free small shake or turnover on their next visit. Since 2011, the fundraiser has generated more than $11 million, helping to further the impact Arby’s has made in ending childhood hunger. Nationally, in partnership with No Kid Hungry, these funds have helped connect kids struggling with hunger with more than 345 million additional meals, the company said.


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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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