THE BUSINESS OF CHANGING THE WROLD
Twenty Great Leaders on Strategic Corporate Philanthropy
Marc Benioff with Carlye Adler
304 pages (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007)

Every year, corporate philanthropic foundations pour $30 billion into their U.S. endeavors. But for the most part, those endeavors have little to do with the companies’ communities or missions, according to Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, a leading provider of on-demand software services. Benioff believes that many CEOs want to change their approach but lack the knowledge to be effective. For them, he offers The Business of Changing the World – a collection of 20 essays by leaders who are practicing strategic corporate philanthropy.

Benioff kicks off the book with his own story. He started Salesforce.com in 1999 using an innovative 1-1-1 model: putting 1 percent of the company’s stock into a corporate foundation upon founding, donating 1 percent of profits to the community, and committing 1 percent of employee hours to community service. Benioff has evangelized his model and other companies have since followed his lead, most notable among them Google.

The book’s author-CEOs include Craig Barrett of Intel, Steve Burd of Safeway, and Phil Marineau of Levi Strauss & Co. Not surprisingly, all of the leaders are overwhelmingly positive about their own companies’ achievements. But in spite of their biases, the breadth of their companies’ philanthropic activities in their communities is still astounding and inspirational.

One of the powerful themes that emerges from these essays is that companies founded with dynamic leadership on strong, articulated values – like Hasbro, UPS, and Timberland – have continued to practice strategic philanthropy as an intrinsic part of their businesses for decades. Benioff wisely concludes his collection with several essays by visionaries like Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, and Laura Scher, CEO of Working Assets – leaders who are working toward a future where the private, public, and social sectors are more tightly entwined.


Regina Starr Ridley is the publishing director of SSIR.

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