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

Seven questions about mandatory sick leave

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
102815-contributedthumbBY DIANE BUISMAN

Many employers have questions about what mandatory sick leave means for their company. Take a look at the top 7 questions Oregon employers are asking.


The Food Pod Grows Up

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Oregon's first generation of food entrepreneurs created a brand based on quality and craftsmanship. Can the second generation sustain it?


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.



Linda Baker
Thursday, November 12, 2015
111215-taxilindaBY LINDA BAKER

Raye Miles, a 17-year taxi industry veteran, lacked the foresight to anticipate the single biggest trend in the cab business: breaking the law.


5 facts about the teaching profession in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, October 08, 2015

Based on several metrics, Oregon has one of the lowest performing K-12 education systems in the country. Teacher compensation is part of the problem.


Tinker, Tailor, Portland Maker

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The artisan generation redefines manufacturing.


Salad Days

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

How Portland's Garden Bar plans to become the Starbucks of salad.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02