Sarah Ford | June 3, 2014

Corporate Giving Yields Many Benefits; Not Just ‘The Right Thing To Do’

By Jane Adler

Business leaders know philanthropy is its own reward. Giving back to the community is just the right thing to do.

But philanthropy can also advance corporate goals while helping others. Here are five benefits of charitable programs that can help boost business.


Today’s workers, especially Millennials, want to be associated with organizations that have a commitment to the community. The accounting and consulting firm PwC, LLP, has about 3,000 Chicago-area workers and their average age is 27. “Today’s generation wants to give back,” says Jim Kolar, Chicago market managing partner at PwC. In 2012, the firm launched a companywide financial literacy program that mobilizes PwC employees to teach the principles of money management to students in grades 3-12. The program has already reached 70,000 students in the Chicago area. Besides helping the students, Mr. Kolar says the program is among the reasons why young professionals decide to work and stay at PwC. “Our volunteers feel empowered,” Mr. Kolar says.


A well-thought-out philanthropy program can elevate a company’s profile. BMO Harris Bank, a long-time supporter of Habitat for Humanity, is sponsoring a homebuilding project May 29-June 1 at Pioneer Court on Michigan Avenue. Volunteers from the bank and other companies will assemble a house frame, which will be used for a new home in Chicago’s West Pullman neighborhood for a low-income family. The high-profile event brings awareness to the cause and to the bank’s commitment. “We are in the mortgage business,” says Mark Furlong, Group Head, U.S., BMO Harris, Chicago. “This is a natural for us to help build homes.” Employees at BMO Harris are also working on Habitat for Humanity homes in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood. “It’s part of our culture,” Mr. Furlong says.

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