Giving City: Business giving continues to grow, evolve in Austin area


Highlights

Report: Most Austin businesses with a philanthropy budget saw it increase from the previous year.

Philanthropic engagement can help recruit and retain employees, and build goodwill in the community.

Austin businesses continue to fine-tune their philanthropy, with most having a philanthropy budget that increased from the previous year, according to the 2018 Rodman Report, an annual survey of business-giving in Central Texas.

But as most companies create their own version of corporate philanthropy as they go, ongoing efforts to increase effectiveness and decrease redundancies may help businesses have a bigger effect on local social issues.

According to the new report, of the 134 executives surveyed, 68 percent reported their companies having a philanthropy budget, mostly in support of education, human services, and health and wellness, as in past years. Of those that had a philanthropy budget, 61 percent increased those budgets from the previous year, when an increase of 59 percent was reported.

In the business world, it’s long been established that philanthropic engagement with the local community can help recruit and retain employees, promote a business’s brand and build goodwill in the community.

MORE GIVING CITY: Need cited for providing foster parent info in Spanish

At most companies, employees play an important role in how the philanthropy plays out, with more than 72 percent of respondents saying they offer group volunteering opportunities.

“We don’t just work in the community,” said Linda Qian, a communications and media relations manager at Intel, one of the survey respondents. “We live here, too, and so our employees are genuinely committed to those important causes in the community.”

Lisa Rodman, president of Rodman & Associates, which administers the survey, said there are opportunities for companies to increase their philanthropic giving that aren’t necessarily tied to donations.

“I was surprised that, other than group volunteering, the other methods open to employers to engage their employees decreased year over year,” she said. “This lets me know that Central Texas employers need to implement concrete ways that they can support their employee efforts.”

Jamie Mineart, another respondent and the marketing manager for Becker Wright Consulting, a Lakeway-based recruiting firm, said she responded in part to learn more about how other businesses are executing their philanthropy.

“We don’t have anything too formal,” said Mineart, who said employees drive their philanthropy.

MORE GIVING CITY: New nonprofit aims to increase nonprofit diversity

“Businesses absolutely watch what their peers are doing,” said Rodman, “and that does influence their decision making.”

To that end, the Corporate Engagement Council, an organization launched by Sly Majid, the chief service officer in Austin Mayor Steve Adler’s office, seeks to support the philanthropic work of local businesses by hosting monthly meetings where corporate community affairs officers can learn from each other, learn about issues facing the community and share best practices.

“I think the impact of the council has been significant,” he said. “The community-wide infrastructure of our corporate and private sector is becoming more coordinated, more effective and more efficient, and as a result these companies are seeing gains made in the causes they support.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Gay rights pioneer Dick Leitsch, who orchestrated 'Sip-In,' dead at 83
Gay rights pioneer Dick Leitsch, who orchestrated 'Sip-In,' dead at 83

Dick Leitsch, whose milestone “Sip-In” in 1966 ensured the right of gay patrons to be served in a licensed bar, died Friday, The New York Times reported. He was 83. >> Read more trending news  The cause of death was liver cancer, according to Paul Havern, a friend. That was confirmed by Leitsch’s niece, Cheryl Williams...
China restaurant burned by all-you-can-eat promotion 
China restaurant burned by all-you-can-eat promotion 

An all-you-can-eat promotion by a struggling restaurant in southwestern China backfired as customers ate so much food the establishment was forced to close because of excessive debt, CNN reported. >> Read more trending news The Jiamener Hotpot Restaurant in Chengdu, introduced an unlimited menu on June 1 after struggling since opening in...
Protesters gather in Pittsburgh for third straight night
Protesters gather in Pittsburgh for third straight night

People flooded the streets of Pittsburgh for the third straight night Friday, protesting the police shooting death of a teenager during a traffic stop earlier in the week. >> Read more trending news  Residents were angry over Tuesday’s death of Antwon Rose, 17, who was unarmed.  The Homestead Grays Bridge was closed for approximately...
Grass poisoning could be cause for 'drunk' kangaroos, veterinarians say
Grass poisoning could be cause for 'drunk' kangaroos, veterinarians say

Veterinarians in Australia are conducting tests to determine whether kangaroos that appear to be drunk have actually suffered neurological damage because of a strain of grass, The Guardian reported. >> Read more trending news The veterinarians, from the University of Melbourne, said Phalaris aquatica -- a common pasture crop in central Victoria...
A 1-in-30 million shot: Rare yellow lobster caught off Maine coast
A 1-in-30 million shot: Rare yellow lobster caught off Maine coast

Maine is famous for its lobsters, but yellow lobsters are a rare find. >> Read more trending news One of those rare crustaceans was caught off the Maine Coast, the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association reported Wednesday. The F/V Short Fuse, of Bremen, caught the lobster this week, WGME reported. The odds of catching a yellow lobster...
More Stories