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Corporate Philanthropy Programs; Are You Engaged?

It is time for corporate America to become ‘the third pillar’ of social change in our society, complementing the first two pillars of government and philanthropy.                 ~ Simon Mainwaring

Jaidyn is a boy whose autism spectrum disorder was detected at 18 months, so treatment started when he was very young. Now his father Steve says, “He’s a lovable little boy… They say he is on the spectrum, we just see him as a normal 8-year-old boy.” Early detection of autism allows parents to seek professional support earlier, is shown to improve behavioral outcomes in the child, and reduces stress in the family.

Photo: OYARC

Photo: OYARC

Jaidyn’s early intervention for autism is unusual. However a new computer application has been released the helps parents of young children monitor their attention and communications, so they can be part of an effort at early detection of autism and other related conditions. ASDetect, as the application is called, is unusual because it was developed as part of the corporate philanthropy program at Salesforce, in cooperation with Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at LaTrobe University in Australia. The app recently won a prestigious Australian iAward.

Salesforce is a cloud computer company famous for their customer relationship management software.  Their client list is long and includes major brands you would know as well as large nonprofits. They have an integrated corporate philanthropy model called 1/1/1, where 1 percent of the company’s people, product, and equity are given back to the community. In this case, their technical team helped create the app, so although Salesforce is a for-profit, whose core business is not intentionally for social impact, they are using their human and technical resource to help with community needs.

Does your corporation have a well-developed philanthropy program? Are you engaged? Like with Salesforce, some parts of a corporate giving program relate to the corporation giving its own resources. These include corporate grants to nonprofits, corporate sponsorship of nonprofit events or programs, loaned executives or staff volunteering programs, or cooperative projects with nonprofits. Some are designed to help you with your giving like employee donation pools or giving circles, workplace giving (usually taken out of your paycheck), and collective funds to help the corporation’s employees. Matching gifts are a bit of both; when you give, the company gives their money as well, which encourages your giving.

Think of your company’s philanthropy program like you do their 401K matching benefit: as a great way to extend your financial resources using company dollars. Through these programs, you can give as part of an employee group, and help extend the social impacts created in your community. Don’t miss out; if you don’t know about your employer’s philanthropy program, find out and get involved.

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