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Conscious Business, Meet Community Foundation. You Should be Friends!

Central Ohio is fortunate to have a number of companies that have embraced a conscious business model—we even have our very own local Conscious Capitalism Chapter with regular events. The Columbus Foundation has happily partnered with several such conscious companies, including IGS Energy and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

There is good reason for these partnerships. Community foundations are generally fantastic allies for conscious companies, because they are well positioned to help enhance impact and effectiveness.

For a bit of background, community foundations are grantmaking public charities that serve three primary purposes:

  • Donor Services: Provide services to corporate and individual donors through effective charitable giving vehicles and provision of community knowledge.
  • Nonprofit Support: Work to advance the missions of local nonprofits through grantmaking, education, and capacity building support.
  • Community Leadership: Serve as leaders in their respective communities by convening conversations, lifting up opportunities and needs, and engaging citizens and businesses.

Community foundations can support the work of conscious companies in a number of ways:

  • Higher Purpose: If a business is to continue to exist for a purpose beyond profit, profitability is still vital. Charitable giving vehicles like Donor Advised Funds are extremely cost-effective tools for conscious businesses that seek to make impactful investments in purpose-aligned causes. And, with community foundation staff managing administrative details and sharing expertise, conscious companies are free to commit their own staff time where it is most valuable.
  • Stakeholder Orientation: Community foundations can help conscious companies create more value for stakeholders. For example, in addition to helping businesses create value for their community through effective giving vehicles, many foundations work with businesses that wish to elevate employees—or broader groups of stakeholders—through tools like corporate Scholarship Funds.
  • Conscious Leadership: As conversation conveners, community foundations work to connect leaders with ideas and people that can help them purposefully cultivate a caring company. Several community foundations, including The Columbus Foundation, further help business leaders foster an environment indicative of trust, care, and service through the administration of Emergency Assistance Programs, which enable companies to support employees following a disaster or unexpected hardship.
  • Conscious Culture: Community foundations are often well positioned to help conscious companies strengthen their culture by connecting stakeholders to the company’s purpose and to each other. For example, The Columbus Foundation helps companies engage employees through corporate philanthropy. We also help businesses connect their employees, customers, vendors, and others through special initiatives.

I strongly encourage conscious companies in central Ohio and beyond to view your local community foundation as both a stakeholder and a resource—there to help you advance your higher purpose, engage and elevate your stakeholders, connect and inspire leadership, and enhance your culture. Contact us if you’re interested in discussing how the Foundation can assist you with your company’s purpose-driven goals.

About The Columbus Foundation

The Columbus Foundation serves nearly 3,000 individuals, families, and businesses that have created unique funds and planned gifts to make a difference in the lives of others through the most effective philanthropy possible. Now 75 years strong, The Columbus Foundation is Your Trusted Philanthropic Advisor® and is one of the top ten largest community foundations in the country.

Sep 17, 2019



Hilary Stone, MBA, CAP®, is the Senior Advisor for Donor Services