Big business has always seen the benefit in philanthropy. From Rockefeller to Gates, industry magnates have sought to give a little back, and this is continued today with Jeff Bezos and his $2 billion urban development charity fund, as reported in US Today. Charitable giving should not just be left to the biggest businesses, however.

Philanthropy is a fantastic tool to develop urban communities. It provides temporary respite for those most in need and creates opportunities for future prosperity. Applying it correctly requires the buy-in of businesses across the community.

How small businesses can get involved

With small revenues and smaller profit margins, it can be a hard sell to ask a small business to get involved with philanthropy. However, low business size is not a barrier to having a big charitable impact. Looking at Scottsdale community involvement is a great way to see this in action. Businesses in the city, from construction through to high-tech manufacturing, have combined to pledge millions over the years. As a result, there has been a noticeable uplift in living standards and improved community opportunities, culminating in a community focused arts and yoga center.

What’s the business benefit?

There is a business case for philanthropy that benefits both the entrepreneur and the community. The Harvard Law School Forum has previously outlined how philanthropy is proven to improve competitive position, creating more opportunities and improving revenue. More interesting is how the business benefits itself through the community. According to Harvard, philanthropy attracts and improves prospective employees. Essentially, putting back into the local community improves the prospects and education of potential staff, and makes them more likely to invest and work for that business or be inspired to set up their own. All of this contributes to a better community.

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The perfect situation

Philanthropy really can work wonders for neglected communities. With years of impetus and determination, real change can be affected. For this sort of large-scale change, look to Daria Moore. The New York Times reported on how Daria, one of the first women on the Fortune list, turned around her hometown Lake City. Apart from renovating community gardens, she focused a lot on getting local businesses up and running – and from that, success came. Effectively, an entire city was rebuilt.

Getting businesses to do their part for the community will improve it. Philanthropy is demonstrably good for business, but is good for the community to – and the future of all entrepreneurs in the area. Success stories nationally show just how well businesses can do through philanthropy and how the community can build itself around charitable giving.

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