Yes, Philanthropy Matters

Posted in Dharma’s Culture, Nonprofit, Social Responsibility.

Image of the words "help yourself by helping others"

Yes, Philanthropy Matters

I am picking up on a recent posting and theme, Business as a Force for Good, challenging business to be the change we seek and to shift from small world thinking to a whole world mindset. Since then I moderated a panel for the San Francisco Conscious Capitalism chapter on the topic of Philanthropy in Business with three leaders. I love the etymology of the word philanthropy, which means “love of humanity” in the sense of caring, nourishing, and developing what it is to be human. The three companies represented by the panel, Salesforce, Whole Foods Market, and Give Something Back Office Supplies have extraordinary programs of commitment to serving the greater good of people in need, and are inspiring examples of what conscious philanthropy is about. What is especially impressive about these companies (and others like them) is that their founders have philanthropy baked into their DNA and business culture. In the same vein, Dharma was created with the intention and sense of responsibility to being of benefit to our community and planet. And while Dharma’s yearly donations may pale in comparison to how these three larger companies have given back, one has to keep the business size in perspective. Dharma is a small business with nine employees. The point is that Yes, philanthropy matters at all levels. And, while philanthropy is in and of itself of great benefit, there are certainly many companies who are “giving back” because it’s trendy, or jumping on board for public relations effect or to make good on otherwise bad press. Even if philanthropy is an afterthought of the business model, it still supports the shift from small world thinking to a whole world mindset!

Of course not every business may be able to donate funds if they are not profitable, but business leaders can encourage staff to volunteer in the community or to donate products and services, or to otherwise get involved in charitable work. Maybe someday, we will not have to make the distinction of business “as if people and place mattered.” The goal as I see it is for all business leaders to see the responsibility and influence that they can have towards social change.

Please note: while Dharma was a Registered B Corp at the time of this posting, it no longer is.