The Importance of Philanthropy in Corporate Culture
By Isaac Brown, Helpdesk Analyst
Though the notion can sometimes elude us as we process our day-to-day tasks, life is ultimately about partnership. Once this axiom is realized and accepted, the concept of building philanthropy into your company’s culture follows naturally. With nearly every interaction you encounter in life, there is a partnership. Friends emotionally support one another throughout life. Employers supply employees with money by which they can live, with employees providing a service in exchange. Each party helps the other. It need not be more complex than this underscoring notion.
Ultimately, the work that we do, no matter how detached it may feel, is no different. A woman machines a cooling fan for an engine. The engine powers a semi-truck, which is driven by a man. That man transports canned vegetables in his truck. The canned vegetables are purchased by a mother, who in turn feeds her children.
A man resets a password. A social worker uses that password to access a software system, and with that system, she is able to assist a struggling client with securing subsidized assistance for job training. That client will utilize the training to secure a job and house his family.
Look no further than the premises of these simplified examples and see these two truths:
- Each party in these equations plays an important role in the equations’ sums.
- The person at endpoint-A, whether machining a fan or resetting a password, is critical to helping the person and endpoint-B.
Side-Stepping Me-First Culture
I have been to 9 countries, and nearly every continent on the planet. I have witnessed many cultures and have stood hand in hand with people who lived in both generous wealth, and extreme poverty. Counterintuitively, the happiest people I ever encountered were not those from cutting edge Western European countries, and not those from the United States, but rather, it was a community of Eastern Asians who literally made their homes on a trash dump site. Where did their happiness come from? It was solidified in the truth that, with a lack of money, entertainment, and possessions, they had learned to place their value on relationships and community. This group of people had held fast to a value that often gets lost in modern culture.
To emphasize the assertions of this article, I present them in the following list:
- Nearly every interaction in life involves some sort of short to long term partnership.
- No matter what one does in life, the result of that work is helping another person.
- True joy, purpose, and meaning in life, is found in our relationships with one another.
- To isolate ourselves from others for extended periods of time is, in general, unpleasant.
And in accepting the above assertions, we should accept the general assertion that philanthropy, the love of and care for our fellow men and women, is at the very heart of what we do and who we are. As such, we can find joy, purpose, and meaning in our companies by carrying it even beyond simply the tasks we transact, but further into a mindset and practice of community service.
Companywide Philanthropic Saturation
In helping others, we find joy. In helping others, those we help find joy. To be direct, those who give, and companies who give, show love, and are loved. Beyond the benefits that all parties gain in the affection I have described, people are tangibly helped towards better living. Instilling an attitude of philanthropy successfully into your company is achieved through saturation. This is how I have witnessed philanthropic saturation within CSpring.
- Underpinning corporate values include philanthropic elements: Some of CSpring’s corporate values include a partnership mentality, servant leadership, an emphasis on our corporation as a family, and prioritizing people over profits. Writing such values into the core identity of your company is the foundation of philanthropic saturation.
- Saturation occurs from the top-down: Those at the highest organizational level, including our CEO, all the way down to those at the line-worker level, like myself, are encouraged to both participate in and lead philanthropic endeavors, such as fundraisers and service events. Philanthropy is not something that managers engage in, or some committee engages in. The entire corporate family is encouraged to adopt and drive a culture of caring.
- Philanthropy is integral and intentional: At CSpring, I quickly gleaned the vision that philanthropy was as important to the company as providing quality services and prospering financially. Philanthropy is not an add-on or side-venture that we engage in. It is critical to our identity as a company. As such, as surely as there are scheduled quarterly meetings, we regularly schedule philanthropic endeavors. Philanthropy at CSpring does not occur haphazardly, it is carried out intentionally.
By building your corporate model on the foundations described above, you will find your company, the lives or your employees, and the community that you serve, all to be enriched. Ultimately, it is both in our nature as human beings, and written into the structure of nearly all that we do in life, to help other others. Give back intentionally. Give back personally. Give back not only individually, but corporately. Give back because you have designed your company to give back.