Philanthropy as a core value

The Heart of Business: Philanthropy as a Core Value

In Customer Resources, Strategy Resources by Brandt A. HandleyLeave a Comment

In the fast-paced world of leadership, where ambition often reigns supreme, “old-fashioned” virtues might seem to be left behind. However, these virtues are the foundation upon which many great leaders build their leadership!

In this article series, we’ll dive into these values and where they fit into modern leadership.

Success is often measured by profits and growth in today’s competitive business landscape. However, for some companies, there’s a deeper commitment to making a positive impact beyond the bottom line. Philanthropy has become increasingly intertwined with business strategies, reflecting a shift towards more socially responsible practices.

Generosity as a Core Value
One of the key principles guiding businesses towards philanthropy is the value of generosity. Tim Kachuriak, CEO of NextAfter, incorporates generosity into everything they do. “A core value is this idea of erring on the side of generosity. This value guides a lot of difficult decisions–when it comes time to make a decision we always want to make sure that we can err on the side of generosity. And so we think about how can we engineer that into the culture of our organization?” This ethos encourages organizations to prioritize giving when faced with tough decisions, embedding a culture of compassion and empathy within the company.

Take America’s Thrift Stores, for example, a company experiencing remarkable growth while remaining steadfast in its commitment to philanthropy. In addition to keeping 50 million pounds of goods out of landfills, providing high-quality, low-cost goods in their stores, and providing jobs and economic stimulation in the communities they serve, ATS has “an incredible business in terms of giving back. With the charities we support, we will give over $3 million to those charities this year.” Giving back is woven into the fabric of their operations, demonstrating that profitability and social impact can go hand in hand.

Philanthropy as a Reason
The story of Anne Beiler, the founder of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, further underscores the transformative power of philanthropy. Beiler built her empire on the foundation of giving back, driven by a deep passion for helping others. Born from trauma they had both her experienced, her husband found a passion for providing free counseling services to their local community. To support their family and that mission, Anne started her pretzel business, enabling them to not only provide free counseling for a decade but other much-needed services and infrastructure in their community. 

Central to the philosophy of integrating philanthropy into business is the recognition of the importance of relationships and service. For Tom Gillespie, CEO of Living Well, hiring people who can serve is central to his hiring practices. “The crux of of everything that we do is a relationship. If you have a relationship, you can you can learn how to serve others if you have a passion for for helping people.” By fostering meaningful connections with customers, employees, and communities, businesses can cultivate a sense of purpose beyond profit maximization. This, in turn, enables them to channel their resources towards initiatives that address pressing social issues and contribute to the greater good.

Incorporating philanthropy into business practices reflects a broader shift towards ethical and socially responsible leadership. By embracing values of generosity, prioritizing giving in business strategies, and nurturing relationships built on service, companies can not only achieve success but also make a meaningful difference in the world. 

For more faith-based learnings from successful CEOs, check out ROI’s Into the Corner Office podcast

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