To maximize the social and business benefits of corporate giving, philanthropy should not be treated as just another “check box.” When done well, corporate philanthropy has the potential to elevate an organization’s core competencies and showcase cultural values for both staff and customers.
When giving practices are aligned with business goals, the impact is endless.
San Diego is home to numerous companies that prioritize community and others every day, including WD-40 Company.
Well known for its employee-centric “tribal” culture, WD-40 Company prioritizes doing the right thing above all else, and its core values are demonstrated through the company’s charitable efforts.
For more than four decades, the company and its employees have given back to the community and invested in nonprofit organizations and programs strengthening the San Diego region.
Working together, The Foundation team of experts and WD-40 Company employees have built a corporate philanthropy model that maximizes impact in the community and supports the organization’s charitable goals throughout the process.
“WD-40 Company tribe members value the role they play in the community and truly want to make a difference,” shared Mariel León, Chair of the WD-40 Company Community Involvement Committee. “Working with The San Diego Foundation has allowed us to focus on the organizations and people whose lives we are helping, while leaving the administration and logistics to the experts.”
Making a Difference, Locally
Most recently, the WD-40 Company Memory Making Fund granted $189,000 to seven programs that will positively change lives throughout the region.
According to Prosperity Now, 40 percent of households live in the financial red zone of “liquid asset poverty,” meaning they do not have enough to replace income at the poverty level for three months if they are without employment. Moreover, deep and enduring wealth disparities across gender, ethnic and racial lines heighten the seriousness of financial fragility affecting many lower-income individuals and families.
Here in San Diego County, one-third of working-age families can’t make ends meet, according to research by the Center on Policy Initiatives.
Recognizing this challenge, the WD-40 Company Memory Making Fund stepped up to take a leadership role in promoting the economic stability and prosperity of San Diegans through food security, workforce development and family economic success.
In partnership with The San Diego Foundation, WD-40 Company employees created a grant program to address the root causes of this broader challenge in order to give more San Diegans an opportunity to succeed and achieve full independence. By investing in solutions that help individuals and families pull themselves permanently out of poverty, they are creating a stronger region for all who live and work in San Diego.
The programs supported by the WD-40 Company Memory Making Fund include:
- Alpha Project for the Homeless: Grant funding supports the Cortez Hill Family Center, which offers a safe place for homeless families with children to receive stabilizing shelter and supportive services needed to prepare for longer-term or permanent housing, as well as successfully promote self-sufficiency, wellness, and recovery.
- Casa de Amparo: Grant funding supports the Residential Services and New Directions programs that serve at-risk female foster and former foster youth by providing individualized case management and individual and group activities that increase youths’ capabilities to achieve self-sufficiency.
- Dreams for Change: Grant funding supports the Eat Better Today Project, which is an integrated program that combines job training and healthy food security to prevent or end homeless episodes and move families towards financial stability.
- Father Joe’s Village: Grant funding supports the Employment & Education Services program and Skills & Training Enhancement Program to provide career-readiness training and job placement assistance for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
- Kitchens for Good: Grant funding supports Project Launch, a free, certified culinary apprenticeship program for individuals with significant barriers to employment, such as formerly incarcerated adults, foster youth transitioning out of the system, survivors of domestic violence, individuals with mental health disorders, and individuals with histories of substance abuse.
- Second Chance: Grant funding supports the Youth Garden Program, a six-week job training program for young people that combines classroom and experiential learning to increase youth awareness of urban agriculture and food justice, and help move them towards successful high school graduation or employment.
- Solutions for Change: Grant funding support Solutions University, a comprehensive set of critical services for families who are housed in supportive communities. The program provides critical workforce development services, help with basic needs like food and childcare, as well as financial literacy courses for families.
Increasing Corporate Philanthropy in San Diego
Whether your company is just beginning to consider how to give or you’re already making a difference in the community, The San Diego Foundation team is here to help you further your philanthropic mission.