The Conference Board’s ESG Center recently released a report entitled From Crisis to Opportunity: Corporate Citizenship and Philanthropy in 2023. Based on a survey of corporate citizenship executives at 56 leading public and private companies, the report summarizes how these companies’ giving and volunteering played out in 2022, what their expectations are for 2023, and how their giving levels and strategies are determined.

Here are some of its findings:

· Even though corporate philanthropy budgets for 2023 are currently at the same levels as 2022 actuals, most surveyed companies believe that an anticipated economic recession would impact their citizenship plans and resources – reflecting the fact that many business leaders see an economic downturn as the number one external factor that might affect their businesses this year. Possible changes to citizenship programs might include budget and staff reductions, changes in priorities and focus areas, and heightened expectations for leaders to demonstrate a return on investments.

· Citizenship leaders see a lack of resources (money, time, staff) as their biggest obstacle to reaching their philanthropic goals in 2023 as they witness rising external and internal pressures to respond to a variety of causes. These companies are under pressure to respond to community needs in so many areas (including climate, public health, education, racial equality, food, water, and human rights) that resources are stretched and the return on their investments may be difficult to measure.

· Racial equality continues to be a priority and major financial allocation for more than 90 percent of companies and these companies increased their financial contributions toward programs that address racial equality in 2022 compared with 2021. In contrast, 80 percent of companies decreased their COVID-19-related investments in 2022. This trend underscores that a goal of achieving equal opportunity for all is an enduring priority area for these companies as they translate public pronouncements in support of equal opportunity into significant financial commitments.

Read the full article about corporate philanthropy by Timothy J. McClimon at Forbes.