How corporations are giving back to the community

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Dec 28 2014 09:07 AM | Updated as of Dec 28 2014 05:07 PM

The beneficiaries of "My Dream in a Shoebox", a campaign by the IT-Business Process Association of the Philippines and TeamAsia, which aims to give the gift of a brighter future to school-aged kids nationwide.

MANILA – Christmas is the time for giving, and corporations have found different ways to join in on the fun.

Chito Maniago, director of the League of Corporate Foundations, said a new trend in giving is providing sustainable programs as opposed to one-time dole outs.

These sustainable programs may include scholarships, wherein one not only pays for education, but also mentor a student on subjects where he or she is challenged.

“There really is a tangible interaction between the beneficiary and the benefactor,” Maniago told ANC’s “On The Money.”

Another way corporations give back is allocating sales of a product to a particular community or project.

Maniago said social media plays a key role in monitoring programs or beneficiaries because everyone can assess the type of program and the specific community it helps.

“With the advent of social media, I think we are now readily able to assess what type of program this is,” Maniago said.

“Giving back is no longer pakitang tao or pa-pogi, it is now a way of life among many corporations,” he added.

Maniago noted that corporate activities that give back to the community create a feeling of oneness, and if the time comes when corporations need help, they can depend on the communities to help them as well

He said corporations also give incentives for employees who do community service, such as conversion of man hours into vacation or holiday leave of absences, gift certificates, and tax incentives.

To claim tax incentives for a community project, employees usually go through a strict audit procedure to make sure the activities meet a specific need.

“You can only benefit from tax exemption or incentives that arise from giving back if you are registered as a foundation. Individuals do not have access to these exemption or incentives,” explained Maniago.

According to Maniago, giving back to the community is also rewarding to the employees because it gives them a sense of fulfillment.

“The feedback we get from employees each time, for example, when we conduct employee volunteerism activities, it keeps them grounded. So there’s a sense of work-life balance especially for corporate slaves. Every time you do volunteer work, there’s something for you that cannot be quantified,” he said.

Tax exemptions, Maniago stressed, are just icing the on the cake.

“This is really not the primary objective. The most important thing is that the company becomes a responsible neighbor to your host community,” he said.

He advised employees, however, to be vigilant in researching the background of the organization or foundation they have chosen to help.

“Some really use these so-called foundations to gain for themselves without intending to help concrete communities. We have to be very vigilant,” he said.