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In the Community

Corporate Giving Subject of Study


from Dateline (June 19, 2003)

Regardless of size, Orange County corporations and businesses actively give back to the community, according to a study conducted by the Social Science Research Center (SSRC) for the Orange County Business Council.

Results from the 2003 Community Involvement Survey of Orange County Corporations and Businesses were presented yesterday during a town hall meeting hosted by the Gianneschi Center for Nonprofit Research and University Advancement.

A collaborative project involving several community organizations, the study was designed to provide strategic tools for companies of all sizes and various industries to self-assess and determine future plans for philanthropic activity in Orange County, and offer a bench mark for corporate and business involvement.

The SSRC, led by Gregory Robinson, center director, conducted telephone interviews last October with 522 randomly selected private companies in Orange County. Of these businesses, 451 reported some kind of community involvement or charitable giving.

Regarding their findings, says Robinson, “There’s a tremendous rate of charitable giving and community involvement at every level of company size, which is very positive news. About 80 percent of businesses with between one and six employees give, and increases upward to 97 percent of businesses with 251 or more employees. We learned that company and corporate giving is simply considered good business. As individuals in Orange County, we have often been accused of not giving at the level of other areas in the state and nation, and these data show that businesses are giving back to the community.”

“We were impressed by the extent of community involvement by corporations and businesses in Orange County,” says Jim Greenfield, chair of the survey’s steering committee and retired senior vice president of development and community relations at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian. “The study found that the 87 percent of those who responded participated in one or more forms of community involvement.

“The degree of employee-oriented involvement also was enlightening. Some companies developed programs that had direct benefit to their employees, some encouraged employee participation in their communities, and others turned over their program to employee-led committees. Ten years ago, one may have assumed that community involvement by companies and businesses was conducted only by corporate officers, whereas today, the employees are much more involved.”

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