Philanthropy boosts bottom line, other benefits

In more than 40 years of working with New Jersey businesses — from Prudential, Public Service Enterprise Group, Wakefern Food Corp., and Johnson & Johnson to a host of mid-market companies — the Community Foundation of New Jersey has seen how businesses can drive meaningful change in our state while improving the bottom line. With over $20 billion donated annually by companies all throughout the U.S., and an increase of 6% in the past six months alone, it is clear companies are continuing to prioritize philanthropic giving following the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The benefit to New Jerseyans, still working to overcome these impacts, has been significant.

For example, Wakefern’s ShopRite Partners in Caring program, a part of the Community Foundation of New Jersey, responded to the pandemic by dramatically increasing its donations to more than 30 food banks across the state. Wakefern also donated respiratory masks and other equipment to area hospitals.

Audible launched Newark Working Kitchens, a fund at the Community Foundation of New Jersey that has so far delivered 1,161,000 meals from 30 local restaurants to Newark’s low-income seniors and families in need — while simultaneously keeping these small businesses open and their employees at work.

These are but two examples of many wherein New Jersey businesses provided financial or material support to their neighbors when it was needed most. Businesses are uniquely suited to provide this type of rapid support at scale, often tapping existing expertise and networks that enable them to amplify their impact in a targeted area. Fortunately, the benefits did not end there. In addition to the enhanced community-level support, this effective and intentional philanthropy drove significant benefits to both the brand and the bottom line.

Business philanthropy creates a strong internal culture, motivates employees, attracts talent and increases long-term brand loyalty. Ninety percent of consumers are more likely to purchase a product from a company that supports causes they care about. This is evident especially with the younger generations, who are not only more likely to use social media as a way to engage with companies regarding issues they are passionate about, but also hold over $2.45 trillion in spending power. Long-term brand loyalty is also formed through local charitable giving, as it allows businesses to reach people and customers in communities where it might not have otherwise connected with through typical revenue streams.

The competitive advantage for companies engaged in philanthropy extends to current and future employees, as well. Business philanthropy improves employee engagement within a company, which then in turn boosts productivity and business results by as much as 21% as compared to teams with low employee engagement. More than 78% of employees want to engage with corporate social responsibility, or CSR, initiatves, and philanthropic giving enables employees to engage directly with the community. This goes beyond a simple employee desire, however, as one study revealed more than half of its respondents would not work for a company that fails to have a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility. Business philanthropy not only benefits New Jersey, but also the company as a whole through the ability to attract and maintain talent, evidenced by the fact that strong CSR programs can reduce employee turnover rates by up to 50%.

When a business partners with the Community Foundation of New Jersey, these benefits increase, and the process of giving is actually simplified and made more cost-effective. When the Community Foundation helps set up or manage affiliated philanthropy programs, services run the gamut from grantmaking support to financial compliance. And the audiences are just as broad, from a company’s own employees to the communities in which they live and work. Among the reasons companies work with the Community Foundation of New Jersey are the ability to:

  • Offer third-party Employee Crisis Funds, such as PSEG’s, that support employees who are experiencing a sudden, overwhelming event that results in an inability to provide basic life necessities.
  • Coordinate philanthropy among different business units to ensure harmony and avoid overlap.
  • Utilize a corporate executive’s appreciated stock to open a donor-advised fund, avoid capital gains taxes and create a pipeline for new philanthropy.
  • Host a commercial co-venture and enable the company to direct sales events and other promotions to charitable causes.

Above all, the Community Foundation makes sure a company’s philanthropy program is effective, well-run and in keeping with the company’s own values and priorities. In 2020 alone, the Community Foundation of New Jersey managed over $87.5 million in grants, helping both individuals and businesses invest in their local communities or issues they are passionate about.

These partnerships:

  1. Save on administrative costs, as the tax filings are streamlined on the community foundation’s tax return.
  2. Engage employees and attract new ones, especially when employees are part of the decision-making for donations.
  3. Provide access to philanthropic experts who understand the tax rules coming out of Washington and Trenton, as well as the needs of our communities.
  4. Boost a business’s brand, both for their own giving and for their enlightened community partnerships.

With questions about the ways the Community Foundation of New Jersey can help support a company’s philanthropic giving, contact it at (973) 267-5533 or