Over the last several years, the philanthropy teams in major corporations have seen their jobs change dramatically.

Some of the changes were already underway when, in 2019, the Business Roundtable published a new statement of the purpose of a corporation. Signed by 181 CEOs, the statement added that companies should ‘support the communities in which they work.’ Events in 2020, including the murder of George Floyd and the global COVID-19 pandemic, reinforced an emerging consensus—particularly among consumers and younger employees—that corporations needed to actively address societal challenges beyond their role in creating jobs and contributing to economic growth.

Over the last year, my colleagues and I at the Milken Institute, a nonprofit think tank, explored how these new expectations are changing corporate philanthropy across the globe. Through over 35 interviews with heads of corporate foundations, CEOs, and social impact executives, we identified common challenges facing leaders in corporate philanthropy, as well as strategies corporate foundations are adopting to respond to heightened expectations. We recently released a report that captures the key insights from this project.

So what has changed? ‘We’ve never been busier,’ one corporate foundation president told us. She explained that corporate philanthropy used to have a predictable annual cycle, but now the pace has accelerated. Philanthropy teams within corporations are feeling pressure to respond to major news events, including political flashpoints, such as controversial Supreme Court decisions. More and more often, philanthropy teams are also acting as strategic advisors to the for-profit C-suite on long-term sustainability issues and more holistically blending purpose-driven work within the profit-generating aspects of the business.

Read the full article about corporate philanthropy by John Schellhase at Alliance Magazine.