Cork Event 10

That was the consensus of those in attendance at a Business Networking Event held in the Port of Cork this morning. A large audience of business leaders and interests in the Cork area, heard from a panel of speakers on their experience of the added value for business from their engagement in corporate giving.

While research on companies engaged in giving to good causes indicates business benefits, the real life local examples presented at the meeting this morning gave unique insights into what is happening locally. From engagement with local environmental projects to local schools educational projects, from support for growing social enterprises to supporting tourism initiatives, the examples were broad ranging.

Organised by Philanthropy Ireland in association with Cork Foundation, the panel discussion of key speakers were drawn from the Cork business community including KPMG, Port of Cork, Junior Chamber Cork, Yellow Harbour and Suspended Coffees.

Brendan Keating, CEO of Port of Cork highlighted the broad mix of activity undertaken by the company in their giving, from direct funding to the provision of volunteer time and resources. But he emphasised the need for business to strategically align their giving with the objectives of the business.

This was echoed by Karina Howley, Head of CSR in KPMG, indicating that given the profile of their workforce – many young educated talented future leaders – they focus heavily on supporting education initiatives. Karina also spoke of the need for business to engage with causes being supported, saying it is ‘…often too easy just to write a cheque, that does not provide real engagement or thoughtful giving’.

Eilis Murray, Executive Director of Philanthropy Ireland, highlighted the opportunity for business leaders to provide local leadership on corporate philanthropy. “Forums such as this for the exchange of information and insights on how business can engage with philanthropy and giving, will provide encouragement for all to be involved’.

In the closing debate, there was consensus that planned, structured, strategic giving programmes make significant contribution not just to a cause but also to the business, by supporting staff engagement, customer satisfaction and corporate profile.

Padraic Vallely, CEO of Cork Foundation encouraged all those present to keep the conversation going locally and to engage with the Cork Foundation for support and guidance. ‘This is why we are here, to engage with local business community to facilitate the effective support for local projects. It is about Cork giving back to Cork.’

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Philanthropy Ireland is the independent representative body for all philanthropic organisations and interests engage with the development of philanthropy and giving in Ireland.


Cork Foundation aims to bring about positive change through funding viable and sustainable businesses that will help create jobs and strengthen local communities and people.