Corporate Philanthropy Leaders Share Best Practices and Lessons Learned

In Their Own Words
VIDEO - Wendy Ramage Hawkins and Eduardo Cetlin spoke to the Corporate Philanthropy Roundtable.

Since 1990, the Intel Foundation’s charitable giving has grown from $1 million to $110 million. A key factor for its success has been the development of a strategic philanthropy program that directly ties to the company’s corporate values. “Corporate philanthropy is not about playing a golf game or writing a check for the next gala,” said Wendy Ramage Hawkins, executive director for the Intel Foundation. “Senior corporate leaders need to be able to tell stockholders, owners, and bosses that the philanthropy program makes sense for business, builds the company’s reputation, and extends the brand in the community. At Intel, our company leaders understand what we get out of our programs, so they are willing to fund it and they are willing to increase that funding substantially over time.”

Wendy recently joined Eduardo Cetlin, chief operating officer for the Amgen Foundation, and Sara Miller McCune, executive chairman for SAGE Publications and president for The McCune Foundation, at the Corporate Philanthropy Roundtable (CPR) Dialogue on Corporate Philanthropy. Among the most experienced and innovative practitioners of corporate philanthropy, the panelists shared their approaches to and lessons learned from building charitable programs for some of the region’s leading businesses.

For the skeptics who question businesses’ role in philanthropy, transparency is key to building trust and working together toward a common good. “When we are able to show the impact our programs are having in our communities, it is easier to have conversations with executives on how we can grow our initiatives and advance our work,” said Eduardo. “There is no shortage of problems that need resources. We have to resist the temptation to simply say yes to all the worthy causes around us and instead remain focused on our specific efforts.” Adding to this discourse, Wendy said, “One of the real values that we as business people bring to this work is our ability to convene and to advocate to audiences that trust us or sit up and take notice of the things that we are doing. In many cases, it is a very different audience than what is accessible to the nonprofits themselves or the organizations we are supporting.”

From companies just beginning to explore charitable giving to well-established programs, the Corporate Philanthropy Roundtable engages businesses of all sizes in initiating community impact. “We have always looked to organizations around us that have been ahead of us and learned a lot from them,” said Eduardo. “As you embark on this journey, look around. Folks are very willing to share what they have learned as well as their mistakes. There is also a wonderful ecosystem of foundations, such as the Santa Barbara Foundation, that are there to help you in your philanthropic journeys.”

If you are interested in creating a culture of giving in your workplace, please consider joining the Corporate Philanthropy Roundtable or opening a corporate advised fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation. More information is available at sbfoundation.org/cpr or by calling Ashley Butler at (805) 963-1873.

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