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The “Welfare of Mankind:” Businesses Giving Back

The Chronicle of Philanthropy releases an annual list of corporations that give back to society. Of course, these are big-hitters…companies that gross millions if not billions of dollars annually. Still, the idea of benefitting the world with some of that money is encouraging in a culture that seems to be increasingly self-centered. That isn’t to say there aren’t financial benefits to philanthropic projects; good community relationships never hurt any corporation. The benefits of corporate giving, however, means the public dollar stretches farther to meet needs.

Google is one of the companies on the philanthropy list. Last year it donated $115 million to science and mathematics educational projects. Another heavy-hitter on the list is United Health Care. The health insurance giant gave $2 million to the American Heart Association for the creation of accessible and safe walking paths.

Tom’s Shoes has a one-for-one program that allows them to donate a pair of shoes to deserving children for every pair they sell. The company picks out a community that can benefit from the shoes and where existing business will not be hurt by the donations. Tom’s sells eyeglasses too, and for every pair of eyewear sold, they provide vision care to someone, somewhere in the world.
Alcoa has a pet project with the acronym STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and manufacturing. They support education in these fields. Tide’s “Loads of Hope” is a mobile Laundromat that responds to disasters, giving the victims a chance to wash their clothing. That sounds like a small thing, but to disaster victims, it means they can send their children to school and that they can go to work in clean clothes.

The fact that major corporations are donating some of their profits back to society is encouraging, but companies don’t have to be listed in the Philanthropy Chronicle or, for that matter, in the Forbes 500 list to be charitable powerhouses. New York law firm Rosicki Rosicki & Associates gives back through partnerships with several charities. They are especially dedicated to the needs of developmentally disabled children. Another of the firm’s charities is “Hunter’s Hope.” This organization raises awareness and funds to support research into Krabbe’s Leukodystrophy, an inherited fatal disease that affects the nervous system. The Hunter’s Hope Foundation was named in honor of the infant son of former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, who died of the disease. The Rosicki Lawfirm supports efforts to achieve better infant screening for the Krabbe’s Leukodystrophy. In addition to the major charities they support, the law firm has organized many events, including a children’s Winter Wonderland party, to raise money for worthy causes.
The holidays are full of requests for help. Perhaps that is because generosity and “good will toward men” is prominent in so many films and advertisements. It is refreshing when major corporations hand back some of their profits to help out all year round. It is especially heartwarming when companies such as the Rosicki Lawfirm reach out through so many avenues to benefit the communities they live in and the world beyond them.