Highland Electricity is well known for supporting community projects. In the past 2 years it has increased its corporate giving and re-defined its giving criteria.
Highland’s giving guidelines now include four funding themes for projects in the company service area including…
– Job training and economic development
– Emergency preparedness
– Environmental stewardship
In the past 2 years Highland has not strayed from the new guidelines which they believe reflect their highest priority social responsibility values. As a result many worthy organizations have been turned down for funding. The message to these organizations and to the community has been that “the company is focusing its resources in its strategic socially responsible funding areas within the company’s service area”.
Highland’s Contributions Manager has recently received two funding requests from high-level managers within the company.
1) The first is to provide a 25K grant to an arts center in a small town inside the service territory. A chief regulatory official’s wife serves on the art center’s board.
2) The second request is for a 30K grant to a mission driven educational nonprofit committed to environmental stewardship programs. The organization is headquartered in the district of a very influential state legislator outside the service area.
Both grant requests are strong and will draw considerable public attention.
Both internal promoters of the grants feel these projects would provide opportunities for contact, relationship building, and good will that would serve the company well. These advocates are pushing their projects hard but have no say in the final decision.
Should the Highland’s Contribution Manager take a rigid approach and stick to the giving guidelines? Or consider making exceptions?