Philanthropy and community engagement have become integral parts of business, but there are many ways and means by which companies can organize and manage such efforts. For some companies, foundations offer a convenient mechanism to oversee social investments, while others may choose to give solely from within a corporate giving platform. We know that society’s expectations of firms are high and there are therefore many reasons a company may decide to give, including:
Ten-year-old Tejas was forced to leave school and work in the cotton fields in India alongside his parents to supplement the family’s US $1.67 a day earnings. "It’s very difficult to work in cotton fields," says Tejas. "My back ached every day. I feared that snakes or spiders would bite me. I wished I could study. My friends used to ask me to go to school with them. I had to work."
According to a national survey, less than 20 percent of Americans said that their parents or school system had encouraged them to pursue a career in manufacturing. In response, Alcoa Foundation, the charitable arm of Alcoa, a manufacturing company pioneering the revitalization of the industry, teamed up with their new partner, Discovery Education, in an effort to bridge the industry’s unemployment gap through an online program named "Manufacture Your Future," which debuted in late May.
Panera Bread recently opened a new location in Boston. One of the most striking things about this bakery-cafe is that, unlike its predecessors, there are no cash registers and no prices. Rather, the cafe provides suggested donation amounts and donation bins to collect contributions. This new model is the most recent installation of the Panera Bread Foundation’s non-profit concept: Panera Cares community cafe. Under this innovative model, customers are asked to embrace the notion of shared responsibility and pay what they can. Those who can afford it may donate the suggested amount or more, but those who cannot may donate what they’re able or volunteer their time in exchange for a meal voucher. Either way, the goal is for each person who enters Panera Cares to eat with dignity.