Working with a Community Foundation makes corporate philanthropy easy

By Scott Wierman

Community Foundation of the Lowcountry’s mission is to strengthen our community by connecting people, resources and needs. Learn more at cf-lowcountry.org.

I’ve noticed that times of crisis invite introspection, spurring us to examine what’s truly important in our lives. I think a positive outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a greater focus on others. Perhaps this has increased our desire to become more philanthropic, for both individuals and businesses. During the past year we saw an outpouring of community support for our Covid-19 response fund. Additionally, several local businesses contacted us, either to start or to augment an existing corporate philanthropy program. We couldn’t be more excited about that.

Corporate philanthropy programs can reap rewards for your business – increasing employee engagement and productivity, improving brand awareness and reputation, attracting top talent, retaining good workers and even improving a company’s bottom line. A study conducted by Cone/Porter Novelli, a communications consultancy, found that when choosing between two brands of equal value, 90 percent of consumers are likely to switch to the cause-branded product. 

Even more importantly, a well-administered corporate philanthropy programs benefits people in the community. 

If your business is interested in exploring a corporate giving program, here’s why working with a community foundation makes sense.

1. We have a host of different customized tools and can streamline your charitable giving through options like donor-advised funds, grant-making programs, or even scholarship funds. We work closely with you to determine the impact you want to make and how to best accomplish it.

2. Community foundations have an in-depth knowledge of their communities. We collaborate with many partners, including governmental entities, educational institutions, faith-based organizations and businesses. We work with nonprofit organizations every day, so we’re familiar with their missions and their impact in our community. And we’re aware of the most pressing community needs to help you determine funding priorities.

3. Working with us is cost effective and efficient. There are no start-up fees or additional legal or accounting fees. Since the charitable giving is conducted under our federal tax ID, there are no tax returns for you to file, no excise taxes to be paid, no minimum payout requirement and no upfront legal fees. There is, however, an administrative fee that varies based on variables such as the type of fund or program you establish.  

4. You receive personalized services and administrative support. We guide you through the creation and implementation of strategies to transform your corporate values and culture into community impact. We can provide research and analysis, create reports, distribute grants, create funding statements, manage your investment and ensure compliance with IRS requirements.

Scott Wierman is president and CEO of Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. He has more than 30 years of experience in fundraising and nonprofit management and has worked with both individual and corporate donors to help them achieve their philanthropic goals.


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