Giving something back to the local community (philanthropy) has benefits for a company as well as the community that are helped by successful businesses. Philanthropy attracts new talented employees and retains existing employees, who feel more loyal to the company and more fulfilled in their work when they see their employer exercising sound moral behavior. It also creates goodwill in the community, attracts new customers and broadens brand recognition, all of which are beneficial to the business. Many of the most successful business leaders in the world have given a lot of time and money to helping their local community.
Paul Allen, Co-founder of Microsoft
Paul Allen has given away more than $1.5 billion in total to philanthropic causes, and was ranked 11th on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of top givers in 2013. Large donations are made to the Allen Institute for Brain Science, to help with research into the human brain and neurological disorders. Allen’s Foundation also donates to marine and wildlife conservation, and looking to the future, he has ensured that his estate will be used for philanthropic purposes after his death. He has donated to the University of Washington for a new library, and has also funded art and culture events, as well as community development and human services.
Jeff Skoll, President of eBay
Jeff Skoll, the first president of the online auction website, has given about half of his net wealth to organizations that benefit society. The Skoll Foundation and Skoll Global Threats Fund support organizations that plan to create sustainable growth through issues that include health, education, economic development, water and sanitation, and food security. Skoll is also involved in filmmaking that tackles a variety of important social issues. He has set up a center for social entrepreneurship and holds an annual forum on using good business principles to better society. Skoll has made a major contribution to support gifted students to achieve a double degree at Toronto University.
Like Skoll, Sukanto Tanoto, the founder of Royal Golden Eagle (RGE), believes in social responsibility and sustainable development. His companies work to minimize any negative effects on the environment by exercising responsible forestry management, conservation, and low-impact harvesting techniques. RGE have contributed to healthcare and water access to over 8,000 people, have helped more than 20,000 students and teachers through scholarships and training programs, and they support relief efforts around the world when a natural disaster wreaks devastation in a community.
Ed Scott, BEA
Ed Scott made his fortune from software with a company called BEA. Like other successful business leaders, Scott has donated money for fighting global poverty and disease, and he started the Center on Global Development, which works to reduce worldwide poverty. He has also contributed towards research into autism in the US.
Philanthropy in your local community need not be a massive undertaking and it can really help to connect with local consumers and advertise the company’s good intentions. An important aspect of many business leaders’ ethos, leaders of businesses of all sizes can benefit from undertaking philanthropic works by giving back to their community.