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NATURE OF POST-MODERN CHARITY

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane Brampton, Ontario Canada

The U.S. private sector is at or near, the top of the list of all sources of tsunami aid, exceeding the contributions of many governments, including that of the United States.

However, I thought it is good for all of us to understand the complete picture or the approach to "humanitarian" assistance on the part of the USA based Corporations. Simply put, it is not purely altuistic. Business interests and business value is an essential consideration in their charitable gestures. Companies like to call it a "dual vision". Not too diferent to that of the Evangelists! Perhaps we might have to coin a new term for this type of post-modern charity!

These are highlights that I picked from an article by a staff writer of the Washington Post that appears in today's paper.

Cause and Effect Tsunami Aid Is Goodwill and Good Business

By Alan Cooperman (Washington Post)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005; Page E01

The Indian Ocean tsunami has unleashed what may be the biggest example of it ever, according to experts on corporate philanthropy and marketing.

Major corporations cite a variety of reasons beyond altruism for responding generously to the tsunami: boosting the pride and productivity of their employees, rebuilding countries where they have suppliers and keeping them in the good graces of customers who pay attention to their environmental and philanthropic work.

Some public relations specialists call that "cause-related marketing" or "cause branding" -- a tactic companies can use to associate themselves with a noble cause.

To their customers, companies often emphasize the purity of their motives and the compassion of their employees. But to investors, they stress that good citizenship is also good business.

So far, the 500 largest U.S. companies, ranked by revenue, have pledged a total of $253 million in cash, products or services for tsunami-related aid, according to a survey released yesterday by the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton.

Ninety of the Fortune 500 companies have contributed $1 million or more, the survey found.

When some big companies finish matching their employees' or customers' gifts, and when numerous smaller companies' contributions have been included, total donations from U.S. businesses for tsunami aid are likely to reach $750 million, about half in cash and half in donated products and services, according to the Contributions Academy.



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