For many executives, success and philanthropy go hand-in-hand. Throughout history, the world’s great industrialists and those who generated substantial wealth were famous for providing significant financial support where they saw the need or opportunity.
In fact, it is how many of the world’s iconic institutions and organizations began.
The spirit of giving continues just as strongly today, as many companies, as well as their leaders, make charitable giving a top priority. They set up foundations, provide private gifts and create endowments for projects and causes that they deem most vital. Just walk through a hospital or stroll across a university campus, where you’ll see their names displayed over doorways.
Many accomplished business leaders who have accumulated great wealth will tell you that they feel a responsibility to help others. In fact, a large number of them say that it is a privilege to do so. As a result, they play vital roles in helping others who live in their communities, cities, nations, and even other parts of the world.
In some cases, these leaders support multiple charities, causes and initiatives, which can be the driving force behind inspiring like minded peers and colleagues to do the same. Their enthusiasm and belief is contagious and irresistible.
A father of two, Bobby Genovese has a special interest in helping children in need. He has chaired boat and car rally events over the past decade that have raised substantial amounts of funding for Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) — one of the top children’s hospitals in the world that is renowned for its world-class patient care, research, education and advocacy.
At the same time, Bobby Genovese, whose business portfolio includes a number of real estate ventures, has used his properties to help others experience and enjoy the wonders of the natural world. His personal private estate, BG Ocala Ranch located in picturesque Ocala, Florida, provides visitors with the opportunity to experience the beauty and serenity of nature along with the healing quality of horseback riding on the many trails that wind through the property.
Another such example of philanthropy is the employee-owned New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado that has devoted its social efforts to sustainability. The brewery produces 18 percent of its own electricity through solar panels and wastewater, while also supporting bicycle and eco-focused organizations. “We consider social and environmental well-being to be intricately intertwined,” says Katie Wallace, director of social and environmental impact.
Another aspect of philanthropy can be found in the programs that many tech companies have put in place to benefit others. Many of the people who work in such environments are community conscious and have strong altruistic natures. They often work long hours and bring lots of creativity to their offices, so it’s not surprising that their philanthropic endeavors are equally creative.
One such example is The Nerdery (formerly Sierra Bravo), an interactive development firm in Chicago. For nearly a decade they have held an annual 24-hour “hackathon,” called the Overnight Website Challenge, that helps support local nonprofits in Chicago and Minneapolis. The event brings volunteer technologists together with nonprofits for one full day each year. During its decade-long run, more than 50,000 volunteer hours were donated to nonprofit organizations, adding up to an estimated $7 million in pro bono services.
“Doing good can and should be good for a company’s business,” said Nerdery CEO Mike Derheim. “For developers, this intense community-service initiative doubles as a valuable interactive learning experience.”
Corporate philanthropy continues to serve as a major part of doing business for companies of all sizes and types. As needs continue to arise, whether locally or around the world, executives will undoubtedly continue to support them with time, money and other resources.