Steve's Reflections


In 1999 and 2000, Steve Kirsch outlined his thoughts on a variety of philanthropic and political reform topics. Please select from the list to find those of interest to you.

Steve's Reflection #16

Innovative Ideas for Corporate Philanthropy

Here are a few of the most innovative ideas for corporate philanthropy that I've run across:

  • Use funds that would have been dedicated to a company holiday party to purchase gifts for under-privileged youth. Each employee could have the opportunity to deliver a gift – in person – to the recipient at a local charitable organization.
  • Instead of making a direct financial contribution to a nonprofit, hire people on your company payroll and assign them to work full-time at a nonprofit of their choosing. If you provide your employees with valuable stock options, you'll be able to attract a high-caliber employee to a nonprofit that it might not be able to afford on its own.
  • Before you go public, set aside 1% of your equity to donate to a corporate charitable foundation after the initial public offering (IPO). You get a nice tax deduction and help the community at the same time. Since investors would know about the carve out before they invested, it won't be perceived as "management using shareholders' money to donate to charity." The best time to do this is when you start the company. It can then be positioned as a carve out that the founders decided upon when the company was established.
  • Instead of paying out a cash dividend to shareholders, allow each shareholder to specify a charity to which the money will be donated.

For other approaches to integrating philanthropy within a corporate environment, read "Portrait of the CEO as a Philanthropist". This article, which appeared in a recent issue of Fortune Small Business, highlights the novel approaches to business philanthropy that are being established by today's young business owners.

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