Corporate Philanthropy: A Win for the Workplace and the World

Perspective from Andrew Limouris, Founder, President & CEO, Medix 

At the end of The Wizard of Oz, the wizard tells the Tin Man, “Back where I come from, there are men who do nothing all day but good deeds. They are called phila…er … phila…er, good deed doers. And their hearts are no bigger than yours.” 

The word the wizard keeps stumbling over is “philanthropist,” and Medix is bursting with them. They are my teammates, giving generously of their time and talent to build a better world – while excelling at their jobs, too. 

One of the great things about philanthropy is that everyone wins. Here are some examples of who benefits from it and how:

  • Nonprofit organizations receiving funding they might not receive otherwise, with benefits to healthcare, the environment, social programs, and other causes
  • Corporations benefiting from heightened public recognition and credibility  
  • Volunteers, like my teammates and me, feeling good about their contributions and growing, thanks to upskilling and greater social connectedness 

A Double Bottom Line Organization

Medix is a “double bottom line” organization, meaning that we focus not only on the bottom line that keeps Medix profitable, but on the bottom line reminding us of our service to others. We look for opportunities to help communities, including nonprofit organizations whose missions align with ours. We combine purpose with values to:

  • Positively impact the lives of our talent, clients, and teammates through employment, philanthropy, and opportunity
  • Serve others
  • Do what others won’t
  • Never, never, never give up
  • Lock arms to achieve goals

Once companies commit to service through philanthropy, they too, are double bottom line organizations, and the sky’s the limit on what they can accomplish.  

Medix embraces philanthropy on many levels. Our Talentomorrow℠ program helps people attain their goals, whether it’s attending college, gaining skills, earning a certification, or going to trade school. Our involvement with nonprofits, including Camp Hometown Heroes, Greenhouse Scholars, The Raining Season, and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, allows us to help others in an even greater capacity. 

We participate in person in philanthropic events that are in our wheelhouse, such as resume writing and interview workshops and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago’s CHASE Your Dreams program. 

Another effort that gets us up close and personal with philanthropy is the Roadrunner Award, an annual recognition Medix bestows on teammates who excel at their jobs while making significant contributions to their communities. 

What Experts Say About Corporate Philanthropy 

The Milken Institute is a self-described “nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank.” In a 2023 report, it described corporate philanthropy as being “in transition” due to “external trends and heightened stakeholder expectations.” 

The report also cited an emphasis on healthcare and public health that was boosted by the pandemic. Among those shifts, as I see them, were the increased numbers of Gen Z employees in the workforce who prioritized doing good in the world. Now, more than ever, companies are relied upon to “do the right thing,” not only for their teammates and customers but for society as a whole.

Takin’ it to the Streets: Philanthropy Where You Work and Live

There are many ways organizations can practice philanthropy. Here are a few:

Teammate Involvement
  • Fundraisers where companies match employee donations
  • Corporate food drives with departments competing to see which one can stockpile the most food
  • Paying employees to participate in a day of service, something Medix does regularly
  • Encouraging teammates to volunteer in their areas of expertise as advisors or trainers
  • 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, and marathons to raise money and awareness

Race events such as those mentioned in the bullet above can be held virtually. Advantages include no weather worries and potentially more participants because these races can be broken into segments and run anytime, anywhere. 

Company Sponsorships

There are lots of ways companies can sponsor a cause. Typically, companies make financial donations to nonprofits who then attach that company’s name, and possibly logo, to a high-profile, public-facing endeavor. Examples of company sponsorships include: 

  • Citywide events 
  • Fundraisers
  • Marketing campaigns 

Fun fact: State fairs welcome company sponsorships, too.

Environmental Stewardship

Giving to, or otherwise partnering with, environmental protection causes is a good choice for many companies, including those cited as “part of the problem.” For instance, a manufacturer of single-use plastic products might sponsor a river cleanup. Goodwill can come to companies making an honest effort to reduce the negative effects of their product or service. 

Corporate Foundations

Some corporations form foundations to fund philanthropic ventures, typically through grants. Their approach might include partnering with government entities and other corporations. A foundation might also tap into employee-teammates to support causes.  

Summing Up the Why of Corporate Philanthropy 

Philanthropy can be a great way for companies to help the nonprofits that help our communities. It can boost a company’s image, build goodwill to help companies through rough times, and boost teammate engagement. When done well, a company’s gains can include attracting and retaining top talent. And that’s the tip of the iceberg.

Philanthropy reminds us that we and our workplaces can have a purpose beyond the usual bottom line. It’s our opportunity to boost that other bottom line, the one that sums up not what we brought in, but what we gave to others. 

And, to borrow some words from the wizard, philanthropy allows us to be “good deed doers.”

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