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Ira Gumberg on Why Corporate Philanthropy is Gaining Traction

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In recent years, corporate philanthropy has been gaining traction in the business world. Companies are increasingly recognizing the benefits of engaging in philanthropic activity, embracing their position for the betterment of the communities they serve. 

This concept is one with which Ira Gumberg is very familiar; as the chairman and CEO of JJ Gumberg Co. and the director of Gumberg Global, he regularly uses his connections and professional standing for philanthropic good. Gumberg is involved in several charitable endeavors with a particular focus on higher education. In founding the Ira J. Gumberg Family Foundation, Gumberg has facilitated charitable donations to leading institutions like Georgetown University, Princeton University, Harvard University, Brown University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Here, Gumberg traces the elements currently driving corporate philanthropy in 2023 and beyond. 

The Rise of Social Responsibility

A primary component of modern corporate philanthropy is a growing macro focus on business-related social responsibility. As society becomes more conscious of issues like climate change, income inequality, and social justice, more consumers are choosing to support companies that align with such values. A 2022 article by the Economist underscores this rapidly growing shift, noting: “Large corporations are finding it difficult to remain neutral on political and social issues. They are feeling investor pressure from above, employee pressure from within and consumer pressure from all around to be more public in the way they express and defend their values.”

By engaging in philanthropic causes, companies can demonstrate their commitment to making a positive impact on society, which can help expand and advance conversations surrounding today’s most pressing issues. At the same time, employees are also placing more value on companies with strong philanthropic programs, which, in turn, can help companies attract and retain talent, boost employee engagement and morale, and ultimately foster an internal culture that is more conducive to positive external impact.  

Building New Relationships

Corporate philanthropy also flourishes as more businesses see it as an opportunity to forge healthy, fruitful community relationships. When pursued effectively and ethically, philanthropic programs can help companies build lasting connections between community members, employees, and local leaders alike – leading to stronger, more informed, and more transparent philanthropic work based on multiple effective vantage points.  

In addition, some companies are gravitating towards venture philanthropy, where companies use their resources and expertise to help non-profits and social enterprises build capacity and scale their impact. This approach allows companies to leverage their business insight and resources to make a more meaningful impression while also building relationships with non-profit partners that can help them achieve their social and business goals.

Ensuring Future Success

Broadly speaking, corporate philanthropy’s future, like its past, is contingent upon proper perspective; it is important to remember that such endeavors are not just about companies writing checks to charities. Effective philanthropy requires a thoughtful, strategic approach that aligns with a company’s core values and business objectives. Moving forward, philanthropy-driven companies will need to continue investing in social consciousness, sustainable business infrastructure, and community outreach to properly leverage their position for positive change. 

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