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Angel Cabrera
Academic President

Lending talent

Corporate philanthropy is and will continue to be a crucial element in any attempt to tackle complex social issues, both because it is needed by society and because it is good for corporations themselves.

From society's perspective, corporations often hold the key to the solutions: whether the know-how to develop a malaria vaccine, the engineering capability to devise a water processing system, or the technology to manufacture low-cost computers. Corporate philanthropy is not just about money, but about lending human talent and organizational capabilities not available elsewhere. Governments, NGOs and social enterprises often lack the resources to contract these services at current market prices and can only rely on corporate philanthropy to secure them.

From the perspective of the corporation, there are also clear benefits:

- As more consumers incorporate social considerations in their purchasing decisions, brands can benefit from strategically associating themselves with the right social causes.

- Corporations are often the first beneficiaries of improved education, health care, security and environmental preservation in the places they do business in. Philanthropic investments in these areas can have significant, though indirect, implications in productivity and risk mitigation.

- Partnering with the social sector in solving complex social challenges can serve as a laboratory to develop and test new technologies, products or processes that can open new market and business opportunities (e.g. vaccine sales, construction of new water plants or production of hundreds of thousands of low-cost computers).

- Engaging in critical social challenges can help corporations strengthen their values and sense of purpose, increase employee commitment and develop an edge attracting and retaining top human talent.

By Angel Cabrera

 |  November 17, 2009; 6:06 AM ET
Category:  Corporate leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Thanks Dr. Cabrera for the interesting article.
I believe that corporate philanthropy is essential for the sustainable success of corporations everywhere. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, consumers and investors are questioning the practices of many of the big corporations. Some big companies have been losing investors, as well as consumers, due to their focus on pure profit maximization while others, like Abdul Latif Jamil, have been and still are supported by the public society due to their positive participation in the community by increasing the well-being of humankind through supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses. Actually, I would not be surprised when I hear the people's sarcastic comments on the losses of some of the biggest Saudi corporations during the financial crisis due to these companies past bad practices which affected Saudi people in a negative way.

Posted by: faisalalsager | November 22, 2009 2:03 AM
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Thanks Dr. Cabrera for the interesting article.
I believe that corporate philanthropy is essential for the sustainable success of corporations everywhere. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, consumers and investors are questioning the practices of many of the big corporations. Some big companies have been losing investors, as well as consumers, due to their focus on pure profit maximization while others, like Abdul Latif Jamil, have been and still are supported by the public society due to their positive participation in the community by increasing the well-being of humankind through supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses. Actually, I would not be surprised when I hear the people's sarcastic comments on the losses of some of the biggest Saudi corporations during the financial crisis due to these companies past bad practices which affected Saudi people in a negative way.

Posted by: faisalalsager | November 22, 2009 2:02 AM
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