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News & Press: ABAG's Baltimore Business Journal Column

ABAG's BBJ Column: Maryland Businesses Play a Vital Role in Maintaining the State’s Quality of Life

Monday, July 21, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz
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July 7, 2014

Baltimore Business Journal

By Celeste Amato, Contributing Columnist 

Maryland businesses play a vital role in maintaining the state’s quality of life, not only providing jobs and economic stability, but also offering charitable support to many projects and programs that enrich the lives of all Marylanders. While business owners across the state are eager to respond to community needs, relatively few have a plan guiding the distribution and use of their charitable contributions.

In the same way that a business plan helps a company stay on course toward its financial goals, a charitable giving program — however informal — can help a business achieve its charitable goals and effectively support the communities it serves.

Business owners across Maryland tell us that corporate philanthropy — charitable giving directed by a business entity — is highly rewarding to everyone associated with their business.


  • It feels good.

Making contributions to the community is personally rewarding. It reinforces our company and community values — from helping kids to supporting neighborhood clean-up efforts — charitable contributions enable us to concretely manifest those values.

It builds company morale, cohesiveness and stability.

Contributing to organizations that are important to employees helps promote a more positive work environment and builds shared pride in the role a company plays in its community. In addition, providing opportunities for employees to contribute, such as release time for volunteering or matching employees’ gifts to charity, helps attract and retain employees.

According to a national survey:

Local businesses traditionally have been principal supporters of many community organizations doing good work. Without the support of the local business community, many programs serving Maryland’s most vulnerable residents would not exist.

Support for local causes is a good way for a business to develop a positive image, reinforce relationships with customers, and develop closer relationships with community leaders and officials.

Great business leaders are also leaders in the community. A business owner who stands up for a cause can create confidence and optimism, and inspire others to get involved.

Studies show that vibrant, healthy communities have a strong network of charitable and educational organizations. These are supported by the volunteer time and financial contributions of private citizens and businesses. Private involvement in the larger community can affect every aspect of a community’s vitality, including its economy.

When the local community suffers, businesses suffer. They have difficulty attracting and retaining both employees and customers. Leaders understand that promoting and maintaining a high quality of life in Maryland promotes a healthy business environment.

  • It’s tradition.
  • It’s good for business.
  • 87 percent of Americans have a more positive image of companies that support a cause they care about
  • 65 percent of Americans would switch to a brand associated with a good cause, price and quality being equal.
  • 87 percent of employees at companies with cause marketing programs feel a stronger sense of loyalty to their employers
  • 90 percent of workers whose companies support a particular cause feel proud of their companies’ values versus 56 percent of those whose employers are not committed to a cause
  • It’s a sign of leadership.
  • It’s good for the community.
Celeste Amato, president of ‎the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, can be reached at She is writing a regular column for the Baltimore Business Journal.

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