In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Corporate Philanthropy

  • Introduction
  • Textbooks and Other Reference Materials
  • Historical Studies and Reviews

Management Corporate Philanthropy
Alan Muller
  • LAST REVIEWED: 30 October 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 October 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0180


Corporate philanthropy refers to the allocation of organizational resources toward social causes, in the form of money (financial support), goods (in-kind donations), or time (employee volunteering). What is understood to constitute a social cause varies. Companies may support the provision of public goods, such as offering financial support to a museum or volunteer time to clean local parks, or the alleviation of social ills such as child leukemia or bilharzia, often by allocating resources to global NGO partners like the Red Cross. Corporate philanthropy is sometimes understood as a facet of a broader “corporate social responsibility,” or CSR, whereas others challenge this notion by differentiating between corporate philanthropy’s “one-off check writing” versus more systematic forms of companies’ social engagement, such as efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.

Textbooks and Other Reference Materials

Corporate philanthropy is not a subject typically taught at universities, and as such there are no known textbooks in the traditional sense. Some books are edited volumes capturing academic perspectives on topical issues in the field (Europa Publications 2002, Magat 1989) whereas others are more “how-to” guides for practitioners (Putnam-Walkerly 2016, Weeden 2011) and others aim to mix these approaches (Burlingame and Young 1996).

  • Burlingame, Dwight, and Dennis Young, eds. Corporate Philanthropy at the Crossroads. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.

    An edited volume containing chapters by practitioners and academics alike examining trends, practices, and issues in corporate philanthropy.

  • Europa Publications. The International Directory of Corporate Philanthropy. New York: Europa, 2002.

    A directory of 1,200 companies that engage in (international) corporate philanthropy, augmented with a number of essays on the role of corporate philanthropy and information on potential partner organizations.

  • Magat, Richard, ed. Philanthropic Giving: Studies in Varieties and Goals. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1989.

    A collection of interdisciplinary papers exploring the origins of corporate philanthropy and the pathways through which philanthropy creates social impact. See also Galaskiewicz 1989 under Outcomes to Corporate Philanthropy: CEO Status Outcomes.

  • Putnam-Walkerly, Chris. Confident Giving. Vol. 1. Westlake, OH: Putnam Consulting Group, 2016.

    A practical guide for making corporate philanthropy more strategic and effective, focused on objectives, processes, impact (measurement), and relationship-building.

  • Weeden, Curt. Smart Giving is Good Business: How Corporate Philanthropy Can Benefit Your Company and Society. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishing, 2011.

    A practical guide centered around twelve strategic questions organizations may face about their philanthropy programs, such as why and how much to give, how to organize decisions about giving, and how to evaluate giving programs’ effectiveness.

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