Sponsored by Oregon Business

Philanthropy: How to still do good when times are bad

| Print |  Email
Archives - November 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008

THE ECONOMY IS IN shambles, the end of the year’s approaching and you’re just now thinking about having your business make some sweeping philanthropic gesture.

Is that a wise move to make?

“By all means do it,” says Laura Winter, vice president for advised funds with the Oregon Community Fund, a nonprofit that administers some 1,400 charitable funds across the state. “There are a lot of resources in our state and a lot of foundations doing great work here.”

Many larger companies budget for charitable contributions on an annual or quarterly basis, so their resources have already been allotted for the year. But for businesses that still want to make contributions in 2008, it’s not too late — and it’ll be worth it.

For starters, contributions of cash, merchandise, property or other assets may be deducted on a business’s income tax return. In order to enjoy the tax benefits, however, donations must be made to legitimate public charities. A list of registered charities in Oregon is available at the Oregon Department of Justice’s web site: doj.state.or.us.

“And [OCF] would certainly be able to help any business in a community connect with an organization that is providing important services,” Winter says. The foundation is online at ocf1.org.

During this economic slump, companies may also get creative in their giving by, say, supporting employees who volunteer for an organization or by matching employee contributions to a nonprofit. Winter also says that financial hard times will be hitting organizations such as food banks and homeless shelters hard, so those areas are likely to need more help in the coming months.

Beyond the financial benefits, businesses may also find that charitable giving goes a long way in earning respect in a community.

“Certainly it provides a very positive community profile for the business,” Winter says. “We all enjoy good corporate and business partners.”

And finally, Winter says, there’s no doubt the current fiscal woes are bound to have businesses tightening their charitable belts in the coming year. Companies that have made contributions in the past would be wise to meet with their charity partners to lay out what kind of support might be available in 2009.

“The giving pool is going to be less in 2009 because of what’s happening in the economy in 2008,” she says. “Start talking to your nonprofit partners now just to let them know if there is potential that you might be giving less until this turns around.”


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


More Articles

Have a baby and keep a job? It won’t be easy in Portland

The Latest
Friday, October 02, 2015
100115kimblogthumbBY KIM MOORE

Our intrepid (and expecting) research editor finds the child care search involves long waiting lists, costly fees and no certainty of securing a place before she goes back to work.


Insurance pulse: health care and Export-Import banks

Linda Baker
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
111715-healthcarelindathumbBY LINDA BAKER

The past month has been marked by upheaval in the health insurance markets. I also check in on clients of the Export-Import bank, a federal credit agency that subsidizes, and insures, foreign exports.


Hot Topics/Cool Talks: Tinker, Tailor, Portland Maker

The Latest
Friday, November 20, 2015



Photos: 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon awards dinner

The Latest
Thursday, October 01, 2015
100best202thumbPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Images from the big 2015 celebration of worker-friendly organizations that make a difference.


Let it Rain

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

This year has been so dry we were caught napping when it finally started to sprinkle. Hopefully you didn’t get caught in a downpour while eagerly awaiting — don’t deny it — our curation of Oregon-grown wet weather wear.


There's a great future in plastics

Linda Baker
Friday, October 30, 2015
103115-lindachinathumbBY LINDA BAKER

This is a story about a small plastics company in wine country now exporting more than one million feet — 260 miles worth — of tubing to China every month.


The Cover Story

The Latest
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
100515-cover1015-news-thumbBY CHRIS NOBLE

As we worked on the October cover, it became evident that Nick Symmonds is a hard man to catch — even when he’s not hotfooting it around a track.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02