Crises are part of life. We often think of them as negative events that we must endure, but crises also present opportunities for growth and change. Corporate foundations are often looking for ways to mobilize staff who live and work in affected communities to co-create solutions for their immediate needs. Doing so creates an opportunity to come together as a team while using the team's skills to make a positive impact. Crises aren’t good—but they’re opportunities to do good.

Between the pandemic, a looming recession and other events plaguing the global community, companies are recognizing how crucial it is to be responsive in new ways that are relevant—both locally and in real time. Many learned the benefits of staying agile in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the racial reckoning that was sparked in Minneapolis before spreading around the world. While each event brought systemic challenges, I found that they also impacted local communities in unique ways.

These events helped evolve our company's framework for an integrated approach to philanthropic work to be more responsive to the needs of the communities in which we operate and where our people live and work. It also brought clarity to our philanthropic approach, which aims to build a more sustainable future for people and the planet. We narrowed our focus, identifying that our approach would need to match the following expectations:

  1. Be community-driven and community-centric.
  2. Be collaborative.
  3. Be catalytic.
  4. Look back, but move forward.

Corporate foundations are not financial partners alone. They must be willing to go the extra mile, providing know-how, material resources and co-created solutions that respond to their beneficiaries’ needs while yielding tangible results.

Following the community’s lead in specific projects and creating philanthropic models that other businesses can follow are important practices to implement. The private sector has shown it can come together to be a collective force for good. Applying this unforgettable lesson from the pandemic to collaborate in future philanthropic efforts will allow corporate foundations to have the greatest social impact.

Read the full article about corporate philanthropy by C.D. Glin at Forbes.