Corporate Leaders Tout Philanthropy's Benefits Amid Grim Financial News
Even with the economy mired in an ugly recession, the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy was able to attract more CEOs — 65 — than it has in past years, according to Charles H. Moore, the group’s chief executive.
The four corporate-foundation executives who met on Wall Street said their businesses’ philanthropy had the strong backing of their CEOs.
While many companies are expecting to decrease their contributions in 2009, the four said their giving would remain flat or increase this year. (IBM and General Mills’s leaders projected an increase, while GE and Moody’s anticipated their giving would be on par with 2008.)
“We haven’t had a problem getting Jeff’s time or funding our budget,” said Mr. Corcoran, referring to GE’s chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt. “Our budget is being held flat, and it’s one of the very few corporate budgets that is, and that’s a huge endorsement of the value of this.”
During Monday’s discussion, the foundation presidents said the recession had caused them to reexamine how they were giving and what causes they supported. Some decided to step up volunteerism and explore other non-cash ways of helping charities.
Mr. Litow said IBM was expanding and fine tuning its pro-bono consulting program.
Moody’s recently started an afternoon of service to enable its employees to volunteer as part of a team in their local communities, according to Frances G. Laserson, the foundation’s president.
Food and Shelter
GE announced at the end of last year that it would steer more money in 2009 to those directly affected by the economic crisis. The company plans to earmark the money it gives to the United Way this year (about $10.5-million) for charities that provide food and shelter. It will also set aside $1.5-million for housing and hunger issues in 15 countries where it has workers, according to Mr. Corcoran.