Corporate Philanthropy Toward Community Health Improvement in Manufacturing Communities

McHugh, M.; Farley, D.; Maechling, C. R.; Dunlop, D. D.; French, D. D.; Holl, J. L.

J Community Health. 2017 Dec 9; 43(3):560-565

Abstract

Virtually all large employers engage in corporate philanthropy, but little is known about the extent to which it is directed toward improving community health. We conducted in-depth interviews with leaders of corporate philanthropy from 13 of the largest manufacturing companies in the US to understand how giving decisions were made, the extent to which funding was directed towards improving community health, and whether companies coordinate with local public health agencies. We found that corporate giving was sizable and directed towards communities in which the manufacturers have a large presence. Giving was aligned with the social determinants of health (i.e., aimed at improving economic stability, the neighborhood and physical environment, education, food security and nutrition, the community and social context, and the health care system). However, improving public health was not often cited as a goal of corporate giving, and coordination with public health agencies was limited. Our results suggest that there may be opportunities for public health agencies to help guide corporate philanthropy, particularly by sharing community-level data and offering their measurement and evaluation expertise.

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