US 'Hero' Promotes Community Foundations in Australia
30 April 2007 at 11:53 am
The corporate and community sector in Melbourne and Sydney have been abuzz with the recent visit by the advisor to the US Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) – Peter Hero – a man who gives away $US 3 million a week!
Hero helped lift the funds of the SVCF from six million dollars to over S1.5 billion and has come to Australia as part of the Melbourne Community Foundation’s tenth anniversary celebrations.
He told a business breakfast hosted for MCF by the Committee for Economic Development (CEDA) and DLA Phillips Fox that there is a new style of corporate giving in the US and community foundations are at the forefront of engaging corporate giving.
His own organisation’s recent research shows in Silicon Valley, where the IT boom has made many new millionaires in the soft ware, hardware and computer industries, that businesses donate 1.4% of their pre-tax profit to charities.
The average across the US is 1%. He says that corporations in Silicon Valley donate $300 per employee compared to the national average of $250.
SVCF research shows that 48% of donations are in products and services and 77% of cash donations go towards public education programs as these companies look towards their future workforce.
Peter Hero says at least 80% of companies have some employees working on Not for Profit boards.
He says across America there is a new style of corporate giving where it is established as a corporate value and is stated in their annual reports.
CSR is now part of their investment plans, in how they measure success and focuses on a whole range of opportunities such as volunteering, employee-advisor committees and loaned executives to the Not for Profit sector.
The growth of community foundations has been possible because they can leverage funds and build visibility at a very low cost.
He says the success of SVCF has been its ability to create a charitable strategy and engage corporations in their communities in ways that have never seemed possible before, such as bringing together like minded people to tackle social issues.
He says there are already 32 corporations which have funds with the SVCF. Community foundations he says can help measure results to report to shareholders and provide the knowledge to partner with community groups.
He says his motto in Silicon Valley is to give to solutions not problems. For corporates it is an investment in community.
The Melbourne Community Foundation is the oldest community foundation in Australia. It currently has just under $30million under management and through its sub-funds has distributed just over $6million dollars in community grants in ten years.
Peter Hero also spoke at several events hosted by the Sydney Community Foundation.
Peter Hero’s Melbourne presentations will soon be available to view on the MCF website at www.communityfoundation.org.au