Corporate philanthropy grows, targets education

“Nevada’s path of recovery in the past few years has been nothing short of remarkable,” says Jeremy Aguero, principal of Applied Analysis and co-author of a report on Corporate Philanthropy in Nevada 2015.

In short, Nevada’s corporate generosity of 0.21 percent of total revenue, or $100.9 million, exceeds the national average of 0.13 percent.

That equates to roughly $441 per employee per year for the average Nevada company compared to a national average of $88 per employee.

The report, released on April 5, contains an intense 15 pages of facts and figures about Nevada’s corporate giving and how the state compares to others in the U.S.

Many of the details and statistics contained in the report were released earlier this year and reported in the Feb. 15 issue of the Las Vegas Business Press. The survey found 100 percent of the companies cited education as a key priority for Nevada’s corporate philanthropy.

The chief reason is that better education brings more economic diversity, one of the state’s priority needs.

One of the companies highlighted in the report, City National Bank, said it believes education is the key to economic diversity and focused its philanthropic efforts on “providing the best possible return on investments.” Seeing Nevada’s youth as future leaders, City National created the “Reading is the way up” program to develop childhood literacy.

Through the program, the company invests in school libraries, teacher grants for K-12 schools and community partnerships to enhance literacy. Employees of City National also receive up to three hours of paid time off per month to read to students.

The program has been responsible for donating 115,000 books, over $500,000 in grants and reaching more than 100,000 children in the areas that the bank serves.

Overall giving to Nevada’s educational programs grew to a total of 44 percent of all spending, a notable increase from 12 percent last year and well above the 13 percent national average. Recent events in Nevada have called attention to the vast amount of land in Nevada that is under environmental protection.

Barrick Gold, a major employer and mining company that makes its living from Nevada’s natural resources, also recognizes how important it is to protect the environment.

The company has teamed up with the Nature Conservancy to implement a conservation plan on 582,000 acres of the unique sage-grouse habitat. The goal of the joint venture is to measurably improve the habitat population over the next three years.

In Nevada, giving to environmental preservation reached 7 percent of the total, which again tops the national average of 4 percent.

Volunteerism is a critical part of corporate philanthropy programs. More than 71 percent of the companies surveyed offered a volunteer program, with just over 445,000 volunteer hours reported by employees in the past year, an average of 2.8 hours per employee. The report highlighted several companies that value their employee participation.

The Caesars Foundation has for more than a decade supported the Meals on Wheels program which provides regular meals, friendly visits, safety checks and other services. Caesars “HERO” volunteers ensure that no senior citizen is hungry or alone.

NV Energy also concentrates its philanthropic efforts on the large senior citizen community through the Senior Energy Assistance Expo that helps to manage energy bills.

During the expo, 130 employee volunteers help to find programs that manage energy and save money. In addition, they identify seniors who are eligible for “Project Reach” energy assistance. More than $344,000 in assistance has been given to 1,210 households.

While most companies surveyed agree that corporate philanthropy benefits the bottom line by projecting a positive company image, it must also serve a purpose within the community.

Giving without a plan or strategy to maximize benefits will lead to short-term, half-hearted campaigns that are ineffective for both the companies and the recipients.

The main beneficial motivations for corporate giving are:

■ Providing opportunities to engage with the company’s employees

■ Increasing customer loyalty

■ Protecting and enhancing the company’s reputation among consumers

■ Creating opportunities for business innovation or growth

The Corporate Philanthropy in Nevada 2015 report is a collaboration between the Moonridge Group, which serves as a catalyst between individuals, foundations and corporations, and the Nevada Corporate Giving Council.

A printed copy of the report is available by calling 702-570-7693 or sending an email to

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