August 26th, 2010
August 26th, 2010
Every year our Bay Area office supplies company, Give Something Back, allocates money for our customers to donate, for our employees to donate, and for my co-founder Sean Marx and myself to donate.
We don't give a fixed percentage of the profits. We make a calculation each year of how much of the prior year's profits we can safely give.
The first year we only gave away $4,000. From 2006 profits, we decided on 70%, or $428,000. I'm hoping to break half a million for 2007, and someday to reach Newman's Own's level of $120 million.
Over the last 16 years, we have given away $4 million and kept $1.7 million to re-invest into the company's growth, which will mean we can give more in the future.
All that money results from the normal process of the creation of wealth in the private economy. The difference is that it ended up in the community solving problems, rather than in the portfolio of stockholders.
Through a balloting process, 40% of donations are chosen by our customers; 30% by our employees; and Sean and I donate the other 30%.
For years the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was one of the top vote getters. But as the economy has gotten worse, more votes go to food banks and homeless shelters. I think that accurately reflects the shifting concerns of the people who live in the community.
I don’t see what we're doing as altruistic. Personally, I make much more than our employees, and I don't want a rich lifestyle. I think everyone wants to make a positive impact. I just happen to be able to do this better with my business skills.
[From the editors of BolderGiving.org: By way of context, average corporate giving in the U.S. tends to be around 1% of pre-tax profit. There are a number of efforts to encourage corporations to increase that. Some communities (e.g., Minneapolis, Denver) have 2% clubs, where some local corporations have committed to giving 2% of pre-tax profit. Also, see: Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy and B Corporation ]
| West | 40 to 59 Years Old | $1-$10M | at least 50% | Business | Fairness |
Posted on August 27th by Francis Nmeribe
Mike, this is a new way to be wealthy. Before coming to bolder giving, I had thought of wealth in terms of getting. It is exciting to feel wealthier by giving and seeing growth from it. It is indeed appropriate to be bold in our giving. That way we give more and according to the natural associated with giving, givers actually get much more than they have given.