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8/10/2017 12:00 AM

Bain focuses its giving on the core areas of education, economic development and local community development.


Bain is a leading management consulting firm, offering an array of services to business and institutional clients around the world looking to streamline their operations. Bain advises clients on strategy, operations, information technology, organization, private equity, digital transformation and strategy, and mergers and acquisitions, among other services. Founded in 1973, Bain has 55 offices in 36 countries and serves clients across virtually every industry and economic sector. The firm is privately held.


Bain supports a wide variety of philanthropic organizations and initiatives in communities around the world where it has business operations. The company focuses its giving on the following core areas:

  • Education. Education is the company’s most significant social-sector investment. Through partnerships with various nonprofit organizations, Bain seeks to maximize student achievement across the globe, offering a mix of cash and pro bono support. Some examples include:
    • StudentsFirst. Bain has been a key partner of StudentsFirst since their launch in 2010. Founded by Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools, StudentsFirst is leading a national movement to significantly improve the U.S. educational system.
    • Teach For America. Since 2009, Teach For America and Bain have been working together to inspire and cultivate transformational school leaders.
    • Teach For China. Bain teamed with Teach For China to expand the organization’s reach across the nation and deliver on its mission to recruit and train education leaders, matching them with schools in need.
    • The London Early Years Foundation. Bain’s London office partnered with the London Early Years Foundation to help refine its growth strategy. LEYF is a social enterprise with a mission to build a better future for children in London by providing affordable early years education.
  • Economic development. Bain works with a number of leading organizations to foster and accelerate entrepreneurship, with the ultimate goal of driving social and economic change on a large scale. Some recent examples include:
    • Endeavor. Bain has supported Endeavor, a global nonprofit that promotes economic development through mentoring entrepreneurs, in articulating both its global and country-level strategies.
    • Acumen. Bain and Acumen partnered to better align the organization’s global operating model to meet next-stage growth objectives. The two continue to work together through strategy projects, IP collaboration and externships.
    • PlaNet Finance. Since 2007, Bain’s Paris office has been working with the PlaNet Finance Group, a microfinance and technical assistance provider fighting the war on poverty through the development of entrepreneurship.
  • Local community development. Local teams of Bain employees support nonprofit partners and provide pro bono work and other support to help them boost their impact. Some notable examples include:
    • BonVenture. Bain helped BonVenture, Germany’s largest social venture fund, to develop a new strategy and business model that will help kick-start the next stage of the German impact investing market.
    • Florence. Bain helped Florence, a home-care service in Tokyo that looks after sick children who would normally be in day care, better serve its customers and grow its organization.
    • The World Childhood Foundation. Bain is a long-term partner of the World Childhood Foundation in Sweden, an organization that raises awareness of the suffering endured by vulnerable and exploited children in many parts of the world.

Bain’s employees also give back to their communities through volunteer service and fundraising activities. The company’s offices around the world hold a Bain Social Impact Day and/or Community Impact Day, which generates thousands of hours of volunteer service from its employee ranks. And Bain employees are encouraged to rally for the causes they care about through the Bain Cares program, which supports them by sponsoring and facilitating anything from local office fundraising events to global fundraising campaigns.

For more information, visit the company’s website.

8/2/2017 12:00 AM

Businesses can help nonprofits struggling with liquidity issues by increasing their unrestricted operating support.

New research from accounting firm BDO shows that the nation’s nonprofits are struggling with something businesses know all too well—liquidity crunches. The firm’s recent study found that nonprofits have liquid unrestricted net assets amounting to an average of 8.7 months of operating reserves. However, some 40 percent maintain between one month and less than six months of reserves and almost a quarter of health and human services organizations surveyed for the report don’t maintain any operating reserves at all. According to experts, this offers corporate giving programs a chance to direct funding to an area that is too often overlooked—with potentially dire consequences.

According to Laurie De Armond, national co-leader of BDO’s Nonprofit & Education Practice, the data show a charitable sector that is quite vulnerable if a major economic downturn took place.

“Without adequate operating reserves, nonprofits can’t weather uncertainty in their funding streams or other things that could threaten their programming,” De Armond said.

Certainly, the last major recession caught a lot of nonprofits off guard, and many saw donations dwindle. But now that charitable contributions are back near record levels and the economy seems on track, other changes in the political landscape still threaten nonprofit cash flows, she said.

Many organizations rely heavily on government grants, for example, and the current administration seems intent on cutting some funding that previously had seemed stable. Add to that governments on all levels cutting back on their own social services programs, and nonprofits could be facing increases in demand for services along with cuts in government funding.

Having sufficient reserves on hand to handle these scenarios—doing more with fewer resources—is critical, she said.

Adequate cash reserves are also vital when it comes to strategic planning, she said. When a charity goes through the strategic planning process and identifies activities and changes needed to solidify and expand the capabilities of the organization, they will need to draw on operating reserves to put such plans into motion.

“One of the biggest risks nonprofits run in having too little in operating reserves is not being able to invest in themselves. They need to have a stable footing so they can run their programs into the future instead of just addressing their immediate needs,” she said.

While the data show a need for more liquidity, just how much is needed is tough to say, according to De Armond.

“Because of the diversity of the nonprofit sector, it is difficult to pinpoint, but a minimum of six months of operating reserves is a good benchmark, and 12 months would be even better,” she said.

Many organizations struggle with squirreling away so much of their funding, De Armond said, because grantmakers and individual donors often want their contributions to go directly to a specific program that has caught their interest and support—the opposite of the for-profit business world, where customers don’t have a say in how a company uses the revenue it generates. Nonprofits, though, are frequently beholden to the wishes of their donors—the source of their revenue—and are hamstrung when it comes to stashing money in a reserve account.

In addition, many nonprofits are critiqued by donors based on the percentage of their funding—often rather arbitrary—that goes directly to programming. When donors see that proportion shrinking, it can give them second thoughts about continuing their support—even though the funds were going toward long-term sustainability and capacity building.

Corporate philanthropists—who have a keen understanding of the critical importance of cash flow and operating reserves—can help resolve these challenges by increasing the proportion of their grants that are unrestricted, De Armond said.

“Reserves are built using unrestricted operating support, and that’s what nonprofits need more of,” she said.

That cushion to weather changes in demand for services and drops in donations and grants, while putting in place the resources needed for long-term capacity building, will pay dividends down the road, she said.

For more information, visit the BDO Institute for Nonprofit Excellence at or contact De Armond at

7/27/2017 12:00 AM

The Ama OluKai Foundation supports nonprofit community groups focused on preserving Hawaiian culture and cultivating cultural heritage and the Aloha Spirit of Hawaii.


OluKai is a luxury lifestyle footwear brand that manufactures a line of shoes and sandals that evoke the Hawaiian spirit of Aloha. OluKai builds every pair of footwear with signature anatomically contoured footbeds to deliver what it says is the optimum balance of comfort and lasting support. Its products are known for handcrafted details inspired by island culture and are sold through an assortment of retailers as well as direct to consumers through the company’s website. The company is privately owned.


OluKai conducts its philanthropy through the Ama OluKai Foundation, which was founded in 2014 with the goal of preserving Hawaiian culture, and honoring those who cultivate cultural heritage and the Aloha Spirit of Hawaii.

The foundation works to preserve land and ocean, enhance local communities and maintain the Hawaiian culture and traditions. Organizations supported by the foundation to date include:

  • The Hawaiian Lifeguard Association. The HLA seeks to establish and maintain the highest standards of professional surf and open-water lifesaving. Their vision is to maximize the safety of the public in ocean and coastal waters throughout the state of Hawaii and provide public, professional and governmental education in the field of ocean safety. Every summer, the group conducts rigorous training competitions for over 200 Junior Lifeguards between the ages of 12 and 17. The focus is on ocean awareness, education, open-surf rescues, water rescues, first aid, CPR and critical problem-solving.
  • Huli. The foundation supports this nonprofit collective of ocean-based individuals who promote cultural awareness and environmental stewardship to next-generation students through innovative outdoor education programs and hands-on conservation work.
  • ‘Imiloa. Opened in 2006, the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center is a world-class museum and planetarium complex on the University of Hawaii Hilo campus. The center showcases scientific discoveries from the astronomical observatories on Mauna Kea, within the framework of native Hawaiian traditions of navigation and exploration.
  • Maui Cultural Lands. This Maui-based nonprofit land trust organization works to stabilize, protect and restore Hawaiian cultural resources. The vision of the MCL is to restore what is known as the Honokowai Valley to a state of balance, so that it can serve as a place to learn, to find peace and to honor ancestors.
  • Nā Kalai Wa‘a. Nā Kalai Wa‘a is an education-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the maintenance of cultural values and customs through the teaching and application of noninstrument navigation and open-ocean voyaging.
  • Nā Kama Kai. This organization works to empower youth by conducting ocean safety and conservation awareness clinics that service the Hawaiian community statewide via interactions with professional surfers, watermen, lifeguards, firefighters, marine scientists, cultural practitioners and ocean rescue instructors. These clinics provide a positive, nurturing and controlled environment enabling youth aged 2 to 17 to become confident in the ocean.
  • Papahana Kualoa. The foundation supports this nonprofit’s work to create quality education programs focused on Hawaii’s cultural and natural history, environmental restoration and economic sustainability practices on the island of Molokai.
  • The Polynesian Voyaging Society. Founded in 1973, the Polynesian Voyaging Society seeks to perpetuate the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging. The organization supports the spirit of exploration through educational experiences that inspire students and their communities to respect and care for themselves, one another, and their natural and cultural environments.

In addition, OluKai is a member of the Conservation Alliance, which brings together a wide range of corporate partners to support nonprofits working to protect wild places for their habitat and recreation values.

Additional information is available on the company’s website.

News Briefs
8/20/2017 12:00 AM

New research shows how impact investors could help address America’s talent gap.

New research funded by the Kresge Foundation and the Lumina Foundation identified strategic opportunities in which philanthropic and other impact investors could play a critical role in helping more low-income students graduate with postsecondary degrees and help fill America’s talent gap. The report identifies several barriers and funding gaps, and highlights opportunities to deploy different forms of capital—including mission-related and program-related investments—to support America’s need for talented, skilled workers, while addressing challenges such as the increasing cost of education, the changing demographics of students and the rise of enabling technologies. Specifically, the study offers a framework that segments the postsecondary education market into four categories—learners, faculty, places of learning and employers—and then suggests various investment opportunities across those four areas within a variety of asset classes, such as commercial debt, private equity, venture capital and others.

News Briefs
8/18/2017 12:00 AM

Blue Shield of California Foundation has awarded $11.2 million for health care and domestic violence services for the most vulnerable Californians.

Blue Shield of California Foundation has awarded $11.2 million in grants this quarter to improve the quality of health care and domestic violence services for the most vulnerable Californians. A key focus of the second-quarter funding is to promote innovative, value-based service-delivery integration for health care, domestic violence and other social services to ensure effective, coordinated care, the foundation said. Targeted at urban and rural safety net providers, these grants will continue to support health information exchanges and other technology interoperability projects, as well as new models of care delivery addressing access to specialty care and behavioral health services. According to the foundation, the funding aims to transform the ability of the safety net to offer seamless, well-coordinated care and bring California safety net providers closer to a “no wrong door” model in which patients with complex problems can always be redirected to the best available services.

News Briefs
8/16/2017 12:00 AM

The Bank of America Foundation has awarded a three-year, $3.75 million grant to Enterprise Community Partners Inc. to support community development initiatives.

The Bank of America Foundation has awarded a three-year, $3.75 million grant to Enterprise Community Partners Inc. to support community development initiatives in urban and rural areas across the country. The funding will support the development of financial tools, strategies and expertise aimed at multiplying the impact of local affordable housing development. The grant will support a variety of projects in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. For example, in Detroit, Enterprise will work with city officials and community leaders to establish inclusionary zoning ordinances to ensure the availability of affordable homes in areas of heightened economic development. In New York, new Ready-to-Respond tools for resilience will help community development organizations protect their properties against disaster. In San Francisco, innovative and collaborative financing has enabled rehabilitation work to begin on the country’s largest Rental Assistance Demonstration project, the organization 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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