Center for Business Philanthropy

The Center for Business Philanthropy


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Designing Philanthropic Programs with Businesses in Massachusetts

There are many ways in which businesses can be involved in philanthropy. The most powerful way to have impact in the community and in your business is to involve your employees in philanthropy.

Involving employees in philanthropy has many advantages. Workplace giving programs provide employees with a sense  of purpose while helping advance projects that contribute to the greater good. Many companies believe that involving their employees in philanthropy engages employees, thereby increasing employee morale and the quality of teamwork and leading to greater employee satisfaction and retention. Business philanthropy also provides a platform for community relations and an increased public awareness of a company’s products and services. Business involvement with nonprofits brings public awareness and attention to community need and solutions.

Strategic Giving That Meets Philanthropic Goals

The Greater Lowell Community Foundation meets regularly with nonprofit leaders, civic organizations, and the leaders of the communities it serves. This puts the Foundation in a unique position to understand a community’s needs. The Foundation’s knowledge of the nonprofit landscape and its connection to community leaders gives it an important perspective on community issues and a strong understanding of the nonprofits that address the particular needs of that community. This makes the Foundation a natural partner for individuals and businesses as they strategically design their philanthropic goals.

Decision-Making Opportunities to Engage Employees

The Foundation’s Community Grant Program, one of the programs of the Center for Business Philanthropy, can serve as a tool for meeting a company’s philanthropic goals while actively engaging their workforce.

This program involves these steps:

  • Business executives make a commitment to give employees the ability to direct a certain dollar amount in philanthropic funding to the community.
  • The Foundation engages employees in a workshop about community need and community resources.
  • Employees focus on a specific field of interest. (For example, the elderly, children, homelessness, food insecurity, etc.)
  • With support from the Foundation, employees design a request for proposals from nonprofits to be sent out through the Foundation’s extensive network of nonprofits in the Greater Lowell area.
  • The Foundation trains employees to assess grant applications.
  • Employees read grant applications and choose three nonprofit applicants to participate in a “pitch contest” on-site at the company.
  • The Foundation arranges for those three nonprofits to come to the company and “pitch” a program, explaining how it addresses community need.
  • Employees chose one nonprofit to fund.
  • A press release is sent out by the company to celebrate business philanthropy and the good work of the chosen nonprofit. The Foundation promotes the partnership between the business and the nonprofit on its website and in its communications.

This type of program has many advantages:

  • It allows the business to impact community issues. It involves employees in philanthropy.
  • It allows employees to be involved in the community in a meaningful way.
  • It brings employees and management together in finding solutions to community issues. It supports nonprofits that improve the quality of life in the community.
  • It brings visibility to the company and the nonprofit sector. It feels good!

Public Relations and Greater Awareness

Philanthropic business efforts provide opportunities for increased public awareness of the brand, goods, and services of the company. Though the Foundation’s Business Philanthropy Program, businesses will be able to increase their name recognition and public awareness of the company’s objectives, product offerings, and benefits for consumers. Though press opportunities, special events, and media coverage, the business and the nonprofit that it supports will achieve greater public recognition.

For More Information:

Please call Susan Winship at 978-970-1600 for more information about The Greater Lowell Community Foundation Center for Business Philanthropy.