Which Corporate Givers Stood Out in 2016? Here's One Way to Find Out

A great many corporations today are engaged in giving, but which really stand out? It's question that we often ponder at Inside Philanthropy as we sift through the many press releases that come our way about this or that corporate gift or philanthropic initiative. Which companies are making a major difference—as opposed to just going through the motions?

Well, one stab at an answer comes from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation's Corporate Responsibility Impact Awards. These honor companies and individuals for their outstanding leadership and achievements in corporate responsibility. What’s interesting, and a bit surprising, about these awards is that they’re not exclusively restricted to the Silicon Valley or the Bay Area. These companies and individuals can come from anywhere in the world.

The awards were presented on December 1 at the Pullman San Francisco Bay Hotel and honored Tableau Software with the title of Company of the Year. This not a company that's been on our radar at Inside Philanthropy, despite our extensive coverage of corporate philanthropy. 

So what’s Tableau doing so great that it captured SVCF’s top spot?

This software company supports nonprofits looking to harness the power of data and analysis to solve world problems. That's an especially timely niche to be focusing in on, as an increasing number of foundations and nonprofits are looking to data to get a handle on the most pressing issues and guide their grantmaking. According to a SVCF press release, Tableau, which is headquartered in Seattle, has helped 2,675 nonprofits with $12.4 million in grants and 8,740 volunteer hours worked since the fall of 2014. Past winners of this particular award include much bigger companies like Microsoft and Symantec.

Meanwhile, in another category, the Partnership of the Year awards were given to Charles Schwab and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The purpose of these awards is to recognize a company that has supported a nonprofit for at least three years and continues to deepen that partnership. The program highlighted between this year’s winners is called “Money Matters: Make It Count,” which was launched back in 2004. Over 725,000 teens in nearly 1,700 Boys & Girls Clubs have participated in this program, for which Charles Schwab employees continue to be heavily involved. Schwab is headquartered in San Francisco. 

Meanwhile, LinkedIn’s leader of employee engagement programs, Cammie Erickson, won the title of Emerging Practitioner of the Year, while Gisela Bushey won Practitioner of the Year for her work with SanDisk and Cotopaxi CEO Davis Smith won CEO of the Year.

Another corporate donor that SVCF has been paying attention to is Autodesk, which is based in San Rafael, California. This design company established a foundation and sustainability group to provide financial grants, software donations, technical training and expertise to help others use design to create positive change. SVCF manages a corporate advised fund for the Autodesk Foundation to administer its grantmaking.

Interested companies can learn more here about the CR Impact Awards and the Corporate Philanthropy Institute.  This was the inaugural year for the Corporate Responsibility Impact Awards, and the Corporate Philanthropy Institute is a day-long corporate responsibility and philanthropy conference put on by Northern California Grantmakers and SVCF. Nonprofits can apply for a corporate advised grant through SVCF for certain corporate partners like Microsoft, Cisco, SanDisk, and Nvidia. 

“The award winners are truly inspiring representatives of global corporate responsibility,” said Maeve Miccio, vice president of corporate responsibility at SVCF. “Their commitment to finding solutions to today’s social and environmental challenges is unmatched, and they are shining examples to all companies working to make an impact.”