Domestic microfinance helps people start businesses, alleviate poverty, and create jobs

In international microfinance, small loans are made to help people in developing countries lift themselves out of poverty. This concept also works domestically. In the U.S., nonprofit microfinance organizations help low-income people start businesses, create jobs, alleviate poverty and improve their opportunities. Traditional financial institutions were created to help people who already have money or…

Employee engagement builds better companies, stronger communities

Being fully “engaged” at work profoundly influences an employee’s willingness to learn and perform, and has real impact on a company’s bottom line. Engagement is defined as an employee’s positive or negative emotional attachment to a job, to colleagues and to an organization. Unfortunately, 71 percent of employees in the United States are either “not…

The 7 Deadly Excuses for Avoiding Philanthropy

Millions of generous Americans donate to charities as individuals or as part of a family or business. At the same time, many other people buy into myths about giving — myths that undermine their willingness to give (or give more) to worthy causes. Some of the common excuses I’ve encountered over the years: I don’t…

Religious values fuel charitable giving

The world’s major religions actively promote philanthropy by encouraging charitable actions that address such pressing issues as income inequality, hunger, homelessness, climate change, discrimination and injustice. America’s religions do the same. In 1835, political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville observed, “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness…

Corporate-citizenship enhances triple bottom line

Companies of all sizes, from the local restaurant to the regional law firm to the national or international corporation, are recognizing that an active corporate social-responsibility program plays an essential role in ultimate business success. No matter the size of the company, the community or the contribution, these entities realize that having a reputation as…

Crowdfunding Fuels Philanthropy

Crowdfunding is a rapidly expanding Internet tool designed to allow large numbers of people to invest or contribute money in support of new businesses, people in need, interesting ideas or important causes. Its recent growth is impressive. In 2012, crowdfunding supported more than 1 million global campaigns. The amount raised was $2.7 billion, an increase…

Corporate citizenship efforts pay off for U.S. businesses

When asked “Does business act responsibly?” 70 percent of Americans answered “yes” in 1968. By 2011, the percentage had dropped to 10 percent, according to a Yankelovich and CNN/USA Today Gallup Poll. Given recent revelations about outsourced fire-hazard sweatshops and megabank billion-dollar fraud settlements, it is doubtful that percentage has risen since then. In light…

Meaningful Philanthropy Can Be the Legacy You Leave

How many people can you name who lived 100 years ago? Including politicians, scientists, artists, inventors, historical figures and our own ancestors, many of us struggle to name even three dozen. How many of the 314 million Americans or 7 billion planetarians will be remembered 100 years from now? Very few of us will be…