More and more Corporations are donating both their time and money to non-profits in an effort to improve their public image. Cocal-Cola created The Coca Cola Foundation in 1984 and plans on giving back at least one percent of their operating budget annually. One percent doesn’t sound like much does it? Especially considering how terrible Coke products are not only for our bodies, but also due to their poor labor practices, and their negative impact on the environment, certainly they should give more.
In 2012 Coca Cola’s annual revenue was 46,542 million dollars. Why do I point this out? Because Coca-Cola has a lot of money to work with. Their foundation has a Water Stewardship Program that focuses on increasing access to clean drinking water globally. Do I think this makes them a good company? No, but I think it is a step in the right direction, their motives may be solely to improve their public image, but regardless – isn’t it a public health win?
Starbucks is another large corporation that is a lead in philanthropy from the private sector and helping out the communities it’s grown in and sold in. Starbucks focuses not only on financial contributions but leadership and community programs, with a heavy focus on employee and partner community service. They created a program in their coffee growing communities called BLEND in 2009 standing for better living, eduction, nutrition, and development. While it is a fairly new project, it has already had successes in improving vaccination rates in targeted communities.
Regardless of whether their motives are for better PR or to genuinely make a difference, corporate foundations are making successful contributions to improving global public health, and it’s a trend that has the potential to make a real impact on global public health for years to come.