Corporate Philanthropy.

Project Description

What is Corporate Social Responsibility? from Bowdoin Career Exploration and Development on Vimeo.

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Corporate Philanthropy is the donation of money, resources, in-kind services, or volunteer time given by corporations to nonprofit organizations and charities in an effort to advance one or more social causes. A corporation’s internal giving department often handles direct giving programs, including employee matching and in-kind giving.

To oversee and execute grant-making activities, larger firms typically establish private foundations. These foundations derive grant-making funds from the profits of the parent company and remain closely linked to this founding firm, but legally, corporate foundations retain independent legal status.


Corporate foundations depend on a number of different positions to operate effectively, necessitating a wide-range of supporting jobs (adapted from Philanthropy New York):

  • Finance: Individuals working in the financial arm of a corporate foundation manage the organization’s investments, monitor accounting activities, maintain financial records, and prepare financial statements. Financial officers routinely collaborate with the foundation’s Treasurer, a Board member responsible for overseeing the fiscal management of the organization.
  • Grants Management: Grants management professionals track the foundation’s grants and compile reports assessing the societal impact and outcomes of their funding. This data ultimately helps inform the foundation’s programmatic approach.
  • Grant making: Program staff work to create a grant making portfolio that best addresses the mission and focus areas of the foundation. In this role, staff complete in-depth research on and site visits to potential grantee organizations, analyze proposals, systemize extensive applicant data, write reports and evaluations, review financial statements, and collaborate with their colleagues in making final grant decisions. Throughout the grant making process, program staff ensure that the foundation exercises programmatic, financial, and legal due diligence.
  • Communications: A foundation’s communications team handles the organization’s press releases, updates website content, prepares annual reports and newsletters, develops marketing materials, and manages social media.
  • Administration and Human Resources: Foundation staff working in administration or human resources execute daily administrative operations and manage the benefits, training, hiring, scheduling, and recruitment of employees.
  • Research: Some corporate foundations produce independent research on their current focus areas and issue priorities, which often materializes into formal reports.

Organizations and Alumni

According to Foundation Center, the some of the largest US-based corporate foundations ranked by total giving are:

Financial Parent Company

Food & Beverage Parent Company

Retail Parent Company

Energy Parent Company

Biopharmaceutical or Pharmaceutical Parent Company

Technology or Telecommunications Parent Company

Automotive Parent Company


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