Entrepreneurs and Philanthropy: A Combination Worth Its Weight in Gold!

French mathematician, physicist and philosopher André-Marie Ampère once said: If I had everything that anyone could ever want to be happy, I would still need to ensure other people’s happiness. Many philanthropists can identify with this philosophical approach.

Although philanthropy begins with one person’s motivation, it can also be expressed collectively within organizations of all sizes. Fortunately, companies make contributions, particularly to cultural or arts organizations, since all of them, other than a few exceptions, face fund-raising challenges. In Canada, funding for this type of organization comes from three main sources: self-generated financing (ticket sales, admissions, memberships, etc.), federal and provincial government subsidies and contributions from the private sector (individuals, companies and foundations). However, philanthropy includes more than financial support since work done by volunteers also represents a major contribution that is so important to many organizations.

The cultural community recognizes that its activities depend upon these gestures of goodwill. However, it is also well aware of the extent of this support, particularly when it is coming from the business community. Danièle Drolet, Administrative Director in charge of La Manufacture/Théâtre La Licorne, underscores the importance of this commitment, which goes well beyond the mere survival of cultural organizations:  “Luckily, members of the business community are increasingly feeling compelled to support the arts and are actively involved in this sector,” she explains. Financial support is obviously important for arts organizations to be able to operate and carry out their mandate, but support by members of the business community, philanthropists and companies also contributes to the recognition of the intrinsic value of art and its role within our society.”  In fact, it is not only a question of money. Very often, philanthropic endeavours highlight all forms of artistic and cultural expression, allowing each person to notice how important this is.

Today, many organizations have chosen to support non-profit, cultural or other organizations. Richter is no exception, since it contributes to many different initiatives and charitable organizations every year, such as Centraide, the Foundation of Stars, the Canadian Red Cross, the Montreal Children’s Hospital or the Prostate Cancer Canada Network. Moreover, each year the Richter Charitable Foundation donates more than $1 million to various organizations, in addition to encouraging the participation of all of its staff during the firm’s annual Community Day.

Philanthropic endeavours or donations of time and money are not only a form of support: this also lets us play a vital role in our society. This is a powerful gesture that must go hand in hand with our values. It is something that everyone can do.

This article was originally published in Action Canada-France.