Big Bucks from Boeing

No good deed should go unblogged.

The Boeing Company has donated $15 million to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum "in continued support of its education and preservation efforts." According to the museum, Boeing's gift represents "the single largest corporate gift ever presented to the Smithsonian Institution."

A fine gift to a gem of a museum.

On a personal note, last night I calculated the itemized deductions for my 2005 tax filings, and while I was not disappointed in my total charitable giving for the year, I came away feeling I could have been even more generous; this year I strive to do more.

Of course, I am not a Fortune 500 corporation. And I understand a lot of big guns in good corporate giving have themselves begun to take philanthropy more seriously.

What is the business case for corporate giving? According to the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) (whose "membership is reserved to CEOs and Chairpersons of the world's largest and most well-regarded corporations from a diverse and broad range of industry sectors," and includes American Express, Cisco Systems, Citigroup, DuPont, General Electric, Halliburton, Hershey Foods, IBM, Mitsubishi, Sprint, Time Warner, Wal-Mart, Xerox, many others):
Once considered a limited corporate function, informally guided by the personal interests of top senior executives, many corporate philanthropy programs appear to be currently undergoing an extensive transformation. Multiple aspects of individual corporate giving programs – including strategy, operations, partnerships and communications – are being revised to reflect a new emphasis on business and social impact. As a result of these developments, corporate giving officers must navigate new challenges and opportunities, both internally and within the broader philanthropic space.

And CECP has an interesting new 42-page report,
Exploring Corporate Philanthropy (Jan. 2006): "designed as a learning tool and resource for giving professionals," the report summarizes interviews with philanthropic executives at 31 CECP member companies, and discusses best practices, quick tips, and "key trends that directly impact the management of corporate giving programs." Happy giving.

Charity begins at home and in space museums.

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