Incorporating Philanthropy into Corporate Culture
Philanthropy should not be an afterthought in a corporation but instead, integrated into the very foundation of its vision and mission. We all understand that every corporation’s goal is to make money but as in human life, a corporation’s life should possess an altruistic attitude to improve the world in which it drew its first breath from, or at the very least, its immediate community.
Whether or not one believes in karma, there’s no disputing the fact that corporate leaders who’ve engaged in nefarious and illegal activities have been brought down by the dozens in recent years. While greed may be a natural aspect of the human condition, at some point, we must ask, when is enough enough? How many houses does one family need? How many millions or billions hidden in offshore accounts will satisfy the never satisfied?
Philanthropy does not necessarily have to involve donations of 7 digit figures to non-profit organizations in distant lands. It can begin with something as simple as sponsoring the higher education of a company’s lowest paid workers, such as janitors or telephone operators. Fostering compassion and empathy within your own organization will pay off in dividends that are immeasurable. Nobody is born into this world dreaming of becoming a janitor or telephone operator but people often have little choice when faced with limited skills, a family to support and other factors.
Providing education to a low skilled, hardworking employee can result in that person contributing to the company later on as an innovative thinker or great leader. One never knows what potential a person has if there is no chance given for that potential to flourish. Further, that same person having the faith and support of an entire corporation behind him or her, will go home with an improved attitude about life, consequently providing hope for family and friends that having a better life is in fact, possible. The change in attitude is a domino effect through an entire community.
A corporation can also engage in very low cost activities, such as sponsoring once-a-week job tutorials for jobless individuals in the community. A rotation of volunteers within the company can help the latter in creating and polishing their resumes, coach in the interview process and even provide tips on how to dress appropriately for interviews. The benefit of helping the jobless to find jobs? That list could go on endlessly.
If many of us can integrate altruism and the desire to create positive change in our personal lives, why can we not do the same in corporations? Philanthropy begins with an emotion, an attitude and then small steps to affect long lasting change.