Establishing Partnerships with Corporate Philanthropies
Rural organizations may be interested in establishing partnerships with corporate philanthropies and
company-sponsored foundations. Some companies have separate charitable or philanthropic arms that
focus solely on providing assets to community programs. Corporate philanthropies may have local and
national giving programs. Corporate philanthropies may focus on giving to communities where the
corporation has a physical presence: for example, where distribution centers, stores, physical
offices, or staff are located. Corporate philanthropies support community programs in different ways,
such as through grants, sponsorship, or cash donations.
Corporations are motivated to
donate funds to programs for various reasons, often for different reasons than other philanthropies. For
- Companies may prefer donating to nonprofit organizations that are located in the same geographic
location as the company itself.
- Companies are also more likely to support causes and efforts that are linked to their mission in
some way or tied to interests of company employees and/or leadership. For example, some companies may match
investments contributed by individual employees to a cause.
- Companies tend to donate to causes that also align with the beliefs of the company and its
employees and that are not considered controversial.
Examples of Models to Establish Partnerships with Corporate Philanthropies
- The Walmart Foundation provides grants to local
communities via its Community
Grant Program. There are eight areas of funding:
- Community and economic development
- Diversity and inclusion
- Environmental sustainability
- Health and human services
- Hunger and healthy eating
- Public safety
- Quality of life
Microsoft Philanthropies is investing in a Rural
Broadband Initiative to increase the proportion of individuals in rural communities with access to
broadband internet in order to improve rural economic and educational opportunities. Microsoft is
implementing three strategies as part of the initiative: invest in capital projects needed to expand
broadband coverage, invest in skills training for community members, and provide royalty-free access to
technologies for improving broadband connectivity.
The Highmark Foundation is a
Pittsburgh-based private organization that provides funding and support to rural programs in West Virginia.
Two of its main areas of focus include children's health and healthcare for underserved populations. Aside
from its clear funding priority areas, the foundation lists all eligibility guidelines and steps
for programs seeking funding.
Considerations for Implementation
Corporate philanthropies may not offer grants to organizations located outside of a specific
geographic area. Additionally, corporate philanthropies may offer grants that are small, though still
meaningful, in size (for example, between $5,000 and $10,000). Rural programs should also consider
how the corporate philanthropy's mission and priorities align with their own. For example, a rural
program addressing obesity in the community may wish to apply for a grant from a corporate
philanthropy that is committed to improving physical activity and nutrition in communities. Finally,
it is important to review all the giving guidelines, as corporate philanthropies have specific
requirements about the types of entities that are eligible for funding.
Program Clearinghouse Examples
Resources to Learn More
Sponsorship: A Better Approach to Corporate Funding for Nonprofits
Provides tips for making the most of a meeting with a potential corporate sponsor.
Author(s): Lord, E.
Giving Programs and Foundations
Collection of resources related to corporate giving programs and foundations, including links to
various articles and webinars.
Organizations(s): Council on Foundations
How to Attract Corporate
Collection of resources providing advice on gaining support from corporate philanthropies; some
resources may require a subscription to The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Organization(s): The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Success Stories from the Heartland
This paper features case studies of five rural areas demonstrating strong economic growth and
examines the seven common attributes that contribute to their success.
Author(s): DeVol, R. & Wisecarver, S. J.
Organization(s): Walton Family Foundation