Feature Story: Philanthropy is Not just a Bottom Line for Local Businesses

The importance of philanthropy is embraced by Cape Cod businesses and every year the Philanthropy Partners of Cape Cod and the Islands (PPCI) hosts a daylong event to celebrate the spirit of charitable giving.

This year, Philanthropy Day will be held Wednesday, Nov. 15, in Hyannis. The event attracts hundreds of professionals, volunteers and board members from nonprofit organizations from the Cape & Islands who will hear from professional advisors speak about best practices in fund-rasiing and charitable giving.

The keynote speaker is James Morton, retired president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Boston who will share his insights on how the first 30 years of his life significantly influenced his second 30 years. He will explore the driving forces behind leadership, the power of personal stories, and how our life experiences shape our actions as leaders.

“The purpose of PPCI is to not only provide educational opportunities to nonprofits, but to also inspire charitable giving in the community,” explains Jennifer Curran, Vice President of Philanthropy Partners of the Cape and Islands. “PPCI fosters the notion that nonprofit organizations should explore imaginative collaborations with local businesses, forming mutually beneficial partnerships that not only advance their respective missions and support their philanthropic goals, but also spotlights the businesses that support them.”

While business support is essential to nonprofit organizations as well as supporting the community, it’s also important to the business community as well and a key part of most businesses’ mission.

“If you look at it strictly from a financial standpoint, it’s good for the bottom line and public image,” says Kristin O’Malley, President and CEO, The Cape Cod Foundation, about the importance of philanthropy. “But we know our local businesses are looking much further than that when they are investing in the community. They know that our local nonprofit organizations are providing critical services and programs to all facets of our community, including their employees. It’s really a symbiotic relationship where we are all stronger because of our work together. There is a lot of research that has proven that promoting and providing employees with meaningful volunteer opportunities helps to attract top talent and to engage, develop, and retain employees. We are so fortunate on Cape Cod to have so many amazing businesses that have embedded philanthropy into their organizational cultures.”

The Cape Cod Foundation, founded in 1989 with a single $10,000 fund, helps people and businesses create charitable funds that, when pooled and invested wisely, generate revenue for scholarships to local students and grants to nonprofit organizations. Assets now exceed $90 million and since inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $95 million back into the community.

One of its newest funds is the Women and Girls Fund, which is designed to strengthen the lives of all women and girls in the region through grantmaking and providing resources that redress the systemic inequities that oppress women and girls and limit their opportunities. The Women and Girls Fund Community Challenge is to raise $200,000 by the end of 2024.

One charter supporter of this fund is The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod, which has pledged a two-year commitment of $50,000 to build resources and provide grants for initiatives that empower women and girls across Barnstable County.

“As a true community bank, The Coop considers philanthropy and active involvement with local nonprofits to be an obligation and responsibility to the region we serve,” said Lisa Oliver, Chair, President and CEO of The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod. “For more than a century, we have been working with the community to help alleviate critical issues facing our friends and neighbors on Cape Cod. We are proud to have provided more than $2 million in grant funding and other financial support to the region’s nonprofits during the past five years, much of it through The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod Charitable Foundation Trust, including a recent focus on Housing Initiatives and Solutions and Social Justice and Racial Equity.”

Creating a clear and compelling statement of cause is essential for conveying your organization’s mission and obtaining support,” says Marc L. Goldberg, a Certified Mentor for SCORE for the Cape & Islands.

“Nonprofits need to raise funds to sustain themselves, and expand their mission and programs. Selling your nonprofit’s cause to members, donors, or subscribers takes preparation. Begin with creating a statement of cause,” Goldberg writes in his Mentoring column in this issue.

Philanthropy Day also honors a volunteer, a business, a nonprofit program and an outstanding philanthropist with Distinguished Service Awards This year the winners are:

Outstanding Volunteer: David Troutman, West Barnstable;
Outstanding Youth Organization: ArtWorks Program MassHire Cape & Islands Workforce Board, Hyannis;
Outstanding Business/Organization: Polhemus Savery DaSilva Architects Builders, East Harwich;
Outstanding Philanthropist: Craig Morong, Chatham.

Polhemus Savery DaSilva (PSD) has long-recognized the housing inequities in the region and in 2010 established the PSD Fund for Working Families, managed by the Cape Cod Foundation.

“We are fortunate to live and work in such a beautiful place here on Cape Cod and the Islands, however, we recognize that the seasonal economy and high cost of living can present additional challenges to residents and families who live and work here year-round,” says Aaron Polhemus, The goal is to assist those in our community who find it difficult to live and work on Cape Cod. By the end of 2023 we will have distributed over $500,000 through the Fund, in addition to other company donations and sponsorships made throughout each year.”

Cape Cod 5 annually provides more than $1 million in bank sponsorships and foundation grants, and so far in 2023 have provided over $1.2 million in philanthropic support.

“As a mutual community bank with no stockholders, Cape Cod 5 exists to serve the needs of the community. Community support and engagement is one of our top strategic goals and it is something that our employees are very passionate about,” says Matt Burke, Chairman and CEO of Cape Cod 5. “We are proud to play an active role in creating economically strong and vibrant communities for all of us, because we live and work here, too. Giving back is an important way that we do this. There are so many nonprofits meeting critical needs in our region, and it is part of who we are as an organization and as individuals to support their good work.”

To register for the 26th Annual Philanthropy Day on Cape Cod conference on Nov. 15, go to CapeCodGiving.org/philanthropy-day/. Tickets are $100, $75 for Philanthropy Partners of Cape Cod members.