Seth Merrin recalls the day his charitable foundation opened a 144-acre youth village in a field in Africa. There was a long line of teenagers standing in the blazing sun holding small, brown paper bags.
The brown bags held “all their worldly possessions,” says Merrin, whose wife, Anne Heyman, founded the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in 2008. Next fall the village, near the Rwandan capital of Kigali, will graduate its first class. Many of the 125 students, who hail from all 30 districts of Rwanda, are orphans of the 1994 genocide and will soon bring the basics of running a business, employing modern agricultural and construction techniques, and personal finance skills back to their small villages.
The equity trading firm Liquidnet is a long way from Rwanda. But it is one of a growing list of financial firms in the West that are looking beyond the simple gesture of writing a check in favor of involving their entire staffs, their families and other companies in large, long-term projects that cross the globe. “Our most recent analysis of corporate giving trends make clear that leading companies, including those in financial services, increasingly are investing in programs that allow employees to bring their values to work—going beyond matching gift policies to include company-supported volunteer offerings and pro bono service projects,” the director of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, Margaret Croady, says.
Read the full article, "Beyond Checkbook Charity" at institutionalinvestor.com.