Philanthropy and the Business Corporation

Philanthropy and the Business Corporation

Marion R. Fremont-Smith
Copyright Date: 1972
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 120
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  • Book Info
    Philanthropy and the Business Corporation
    Book Description:

    Attempts to study corporation philanthropy inevitably prove frustrating, for it is a subject surrounded by rhetoric and almost entirely devoid of hard facts.

    Marion R. Fremont-Smith's concise appraisal of corporation philanthropy takes a close look at the donative policies of corporations and their methods of giving. Concentrating on the legal and historical setting, as well as corporation philanthropy in practice, the author analyzes recent expansion in the field of traditional philanthropy and the accompanying shift in public attitude toward the responsibility of business corporations. The book shows how this new attitude has brought with it a reappraisal of the philosophical and legal bases for corporate action in the social sphere. In conclusion, Mrs. Fremont-Smith calls for a more imaginative and independent definition of the objectives of corporate philanthropic policies and not merely a continuing series of ill-considered defensive reactions.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-223-7
    Subjects: Sociology, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
    (pp. 1-2)

    Attempts to study corporation philanthropy inevitably prove frustrating, for it is a subject surrounded by rhetoric, almost entirely devoid of hard facts. There are the legal cases; the Internal Revenue Service’s statistics; a handful of surveys culling information primarily from the larger “enlightened” corporations; and beyond that, little but guesses. The majority of corporations do not want the public to know how much they are giving, and to whom.

    For one who is dedicated to the growth and improvement of the private philanthropic sector, it would be distressing if the negative conclusions drawn in this study were used as an...

    (pp. 3-30)

    Philanthropy, as practiced by business corporations, has traditionally meant making gifts to nonprofit, community organizations providing health and welfare services and to privately endowed colleges and universities. In more recent years civic and cultural causes and, in the late sixties, minority groups and the urban poor have been added to the list of beneficiaries of company support.

    This recent expansion of the field of traditional philanthropy has been accompanied by a shift in public attitude toward the responsibility of business corporations, going far beyond the mere question of how much cash support should be given to charitable activities. Direct involvement...

    (pp. 31-78)

    Law develops to meet the changing attitudes and the changing needs of society. In turn, once new principles are incorporated into the law, the law itself provides an impetus to increased acceptance of change. Thus, in an inquiry into the relationship of corporations and philanthropy, one must look to the impact that change in the law dealing with corporation contributions has had on the amount and nature of donations by corporations.

    Reliable information on the amount of contributions by corporations is difficult to obtain. Early records are incomplete, compiled primarily from Community Chest figures that are limited in many instances...

    (pp. 79-98)

    The foregoing description of the gradual acceptance of philanthropy as a legitimate activity of business corporations is but one facet of the broader subject of the changing role of the corporation in modern society. The justification of philanthropic practices by business cannot be viewed without some perspective on the larger questions of the relationship and responsibility of business institutions to the society in which they exist.

    Discussion of the question of corporate social responsibility, however, is colored by the existence of a discrepancy between economic facts and political and legal theories. The economic facts are that, since the turn of...

    (pp. 99-104)
  8. INDEX
    (pp. 105-110)