It is the Season for Awards for Corporate Philanthropy

Kraft Foods, Xylem Inc., and Good360 in partnership with The Home Depot 

What do these businesses have in common?  They are the 2012 winners of the Annual Excellence Awards presented by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) at its June 2012 conference.  Video highlights of this year’s award-winning programs demonstrate the innovative ways that companies are addressing core community needs for food, water, and shelter.  

The CECP’s mission is to raise the level and quality of corporate philanthropy.  In addition to offering annual awards, the nonprofit provides benchmarking tools, networking programs, research, and sharing of best practices.  It has been honoring corporate philanthropy leaders for twelve years. Next year’s nomination season opened June 5, 2012 and closes September 7, 2012. Winners will be announced February 25, 2013 on International Corporate Philanthropy Day. 

If your favorite company was not recognized by CECP, maybe it would qualify for the inaugural Social Investment Pioneer Awards offered by The Principles for Social Investment Secretariat (PSIS).  The PSIS was established by the United Nations Global Compact in 2011 to facilitate and improve the impact of social investment to increase the quality of life for communities in need.  The award nomination process opened July 1.

“The awards program will connect the top industry practitioners and highlight the importance of private sector engagement in sustainable community development” according to the CEO of the PSIS, Shaun Cannon.    There are five Social Investment Pioneer Award categories:

Responsible Business – demonstrating a commitment to social, economic and environmental sustainability balanced with stakeholder interests

Inclusive Business – working with middle to low-income communities not as passive beneficiaries, but as members of the value chain such as suppliers, clients and customers

Shared Value – initiatives that reflect an equal concern for the achievement of commercial and community outcomes

Social Enterprise – a non-loss, non-dividend cause-driven entity created to address a specific social interest

Strategic Corporate Philanthropy – the giving of financial and non-financial organizational resources to community or social concerns or causes

Numerous local area awards exist to honor companies giving back to their communities.   Here in the Raleigh area, the Triangle Business Journal presented its inaugural A Better World Awards in April 2012.  The awards recognize companies for their financial contributions, volunteer and board service, and other contributions to charities and nonprofit organizations. 

It is great to see corporations rewarded for their efforts to improve communities, especially in this weak economy.  Not all companies have been able to maintain their previous levels of giving while others have significantly increased their efforts, as the CECP found in its 2011 report on trends in giving. From 2007 to 2010, a quarter of companies increased their giving by more than 25 percent.  Others, 21 percent of companies in the sample, decreased their giving by more than 25 percent. 

The recently released Giving USA 2012 study found that corporate giving was stable from 2010 to 2011.  In 2011 it was 5 percent of total giving, about $14.55 billion.  About half of corporate giving was in the form of in-kind donations.  The study found that a majority of companies do not intend to increase their giving in 2012. 

Companies that increase their giving to charities and othernonprofits deserve recognition.  Corporate Philanthropy Award programs are one mechanism for providing encouragement, sharing of rationales for giving, and promotion of best practices.

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