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"Strategic" Philanthropy?

What on earth is "strategic" philanthropy? Isn't "philanthropy" just helping people and communities out of the "goodness of our hearts"? Sure it is, but with more than a million registered non-profits in the U.S. alone, and with limited resources, how does a global corporation with a commitment to philanthropy go about picking and choosing which charities to support?

Our approach at FedEx is to "strategically" align our philanthropic initiatives with our unique capabilities and core competencies. This approach is sustainable in that our philanthropy is inextricably tied to who we are. To this point, our two signature programs are disaster relief and safety.

With the most powerful global transportation network on earth, we are able to increase the capacity of the international disaster relief organizations we support by providing them with complimentary access to our network. Accessing our network enables them to help untold numbers of individuals and families worldwide.

With thousands of vehicles on the world's roadways, we share our safety expertise with Safe Kids Worldwide, supporting child pedestrian safety initiatives in seven countries. Our pedestrian safety programs address road traffic issues, a leading cause of avoidable death and injury among young people across the globe.

These programs are also "strategic" from a corporate point of view in that helping build more resilient, safer and stronger communities helps build a stronger FedEx. Case in point: we developed with the American Red Cross a small business disaster readiness checklist and made it available for free at www.fedex.com/smallbiz. By helping small businesses stay in business, in addition to providing them with access to the global marketplace, we help them stay strong and grow. Strong and growing customers result in a strong and growing FedEx. As FedEx grows, we grow our capacity to develop our "strategic" philanthropic initiatives.

That's "strategic" philanthropy at FedEx.

Comments (2) 

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Well presented article on strategic philanthropy, Shane! No one in the Memphis business community knows more about disaster preparedness and response than FedEx ... and the American Red Cross! But then, with your headquarters here, you know about the damage tornadoes can do to the very community so many of your employees live in ... and those organizations that stand ready day and night, 24/7 to serve when disaster strikes. Thank you, too, for recognizing that your home-town Red Cross Chapter also bears the brunt of sheltering operations for Mississippi and Louisiana evacuees from Gulf Coast hurricanes. FedEx's gift during Gustav was sorely needed and much appreciated! God bless you and your FedEx co-workers for your steadfast support of our humanitarian mission right here in FedEx's home town!

Nice post, Shane. FedEx has definitely been a leader in not just leveraging its financial reserves, but also its core competencies and business acumen to help communities respond to disasters and prepare for them before they occur. I should know - I've seen it in action personally!

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