Meeting Human Needs, toward a New Public Philosophy

Meeting Human Needs, toward a New Public Philosophy

Meeting Human Needs, toward a New Public Philosophy

Meeting Human Needs, toward a New Public Philosophy

Excerpt

One way to illustrate both the breadth and the depth of business involvement in social problem solving is to highlight a number of interesting, varied examples of business initiatives in this area. Instead of developing an exhaustive list of business initiatives, however--a task that could fill volumes--this chapter contains short case histories of ten such experiments and presents detailed case studies of how two companies developed their particular programs.

It is worth reemphasizing a point stressed in the first chapter in part 1--that an analysis of attempts by business to solve social problems should not be misconstrued as a campaign to exhort firms to meet guidelines for charitable contributions. We applaud corporate financial contributions to nonprofit organizations, but we reject arbitrary guidelines or publicly announced targets that prescribe a certain percentage of profits for such purposes.

Rather, we believe that businesses can help and are helping those in need in a variety of ways. Some contribute primarily by donating a portion of pretax earnings. Others make smaller financial contributions, but lend their talent and expertise to nonprofit groups in the local communities where they conduct business. These actions, of course, cost a company money in the same sense that a donation costs money. By "lending" the services of a technician, instructor, or manager, for example, a company forgoes the opportunity to use that person's skills directly in its regular business operations. We found these kinds of involvement illustrated again and again, as seen in the case studies that follow.

In the two detailed case studies especially, we try to show the evolution of business initiatives such as creating job opportunities . . .

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