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Kurt Schmoke
Political/Education leader

Kurt Schmoke

A former mayor of Baltimore City, Kurt Schmoke is Dean of Howard University School of Law.

Big cities, corporate solutions

If you poll big-city mayors around the United States, they would overwhelmingly support the notion that corporate philanthropy is as relevant today as it was a century ago. However, they are also likely to note that this philanthropy has evolved as the needs of the cities have changed and the profile of the corporate leader has changed.

Decades ago a corporate leader was likely to be someone who was rooted in the community of the company for many years. Today heads of corporations may or may not have long-standing personal ties to a community, but they do have strong interests in assuring that the area in which their company resides is a thriving one.

Corporate philanthropy manifests itself in many ways. A type of general philanthropy is a donation to arts institutions. Such donations are made for the general well being of the community, the corporation acting as a civic-minded citizen. Another type of philanthropy is more strategic, with contributions being made to further the specific business interest of the corporation.

The philanthropy that has served cities well in recent years is that which helps bring together disparate groups to address a common problem for the community. Government agencies, community organizations, local charities sometimes operate within silos of interests. It often takes an entity with a broader view of the community to serve as the catalyst to bring these groups together to pursue change that will benefit the whole. Corporate philanthropy can and has played that role.

By Kurt Schmoke

 |  November 18, 2009; 3:26 PM ET
Category:  Corporate leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Defining corporate citizenship | Next: The best of corporate philanthropy

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