Successful business people understand that they have an obligation to give back to their communities. Some, like John Kleinheinz Forth Worth opt to establish charitable foundations to support causes that are near to their hearts, while others organize programs that are integrated into their business structure. Here are just a few of the ways that big businesses are making a difference in the world through their charitable programs.
Microsoft’s commitment to corporate philanthropy goes back to the 80s when they started their first employee giving program. This program works by matching the donations of Microsoft employees and has raised more than one billion dollars so far. Other ways that Microsoft supports important community work is through its technology donation program; by giving donations of hardware and software to charitable organizations, they are able to put more of the money they raise to direct use serving their communities rather than spending it on technology. To top it off, Microsoft encourages and supports volunteerism among its employees by making a cash donation to a charity when an employee volunteers his or her time.
Like Microsoft, Google makes huge donations of technology, and supports education and the spread of accessible technology in several different countries. Google also contributes to programs that are designed to improve civic technology to help produce safer, cleaner and more efficient infrastructures. Google encourages volunteerism as well, and as a result Google employees were able to donate more than 80,000 hours of service in only a year.
Tim Cook, the new CEO of Apple, was responsible for increasing Apple’s program of corporate philanthropy which includes a donation matching program that has raised more than $50 million in just a few years. The program operates in any country where there is an Apple presence, which means it has a global reach. Like Microsoft, Apple has a volunteer program that supports charities with donations and volunteerism among its employees.
PepsiCo has an especially significant charitable profile, contributing in important waysto the development water sanitation, affordable food, job training, women’s rights and sustainable agriculture in countries around the world. It also runs placement programs and encourages its employees to spend time in the communities being served and to share their skills in support of the projects underway. PepsiCo matches its employees’ donations up to $10,000 and additionally donates more than $25 million a year in strategic grants intended to improve the lives of entire communities by supporting large projects including infrastructure.
The Whole Foods grocery store chain operates a number of programs to support local charities. Several times a year, for example, 5% of net sales for the day is donated to local groups. Another form of direct support is the provision of gift cards to local groups, along with donations of food. Whole Foods supports two foundations. The Whole Cities Foundation supports the provision of nutritious food to families in several cities. The Whole Kids Foundation supports schools and families with nutritional programs including a School Garden program.
These are just some of the ways that big businesses are giving back to communities.