Focused philanthropy, methane levels rise and investment shift from fossil fuels to clean tech

Charitable foundations becoming more strategic

The days of corporate foundations dolling out bank cheques to the favoured charity of the chairman’s wife appear to be dying out. New research suggests that nearly three-quarters (73%) of corporate foundations worldwide link their giving to the business focus of their parent company,  up from 58% in 2013.

A survey of corporate foundations in more than 20 countries by consultancy firm Corporate Citizenship finds a growing strategic intent in private-sector philanthropy.

Around two-thirds of corporate foundations imagine themselves developing a new pro-social product or service, for instance, while more than half measure the impacts of their donations. Leveraging business skills represents another growing trend, with 70% of corporate foundations drawing on employees at their parent company as volunteers.

The report’s optimistic findings are countered somewhat by a separate study of US charitable foundations. The Center for Effective Philanthropy report finds that only 13% of foundation chief executives consider that they are making a “significant” difference in society, despite 67% believing that such an impact is possible.

According to around two-thirds of the foundation leaders surveyed, the main hurdles relate to internal sticking points, such as disputes over objectives or too many goals. Meanwhile, external factors such...

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