NetworkPeninsula to Host Impact Forum on Business Philanthropy

WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

Last year's Impact Forum attracted over 65 participants representing nonprofits, businesses, higher educational institutions, civic and faith-based groups, and government leaders from across the Peninsula. (Courtesy NetworkPeninsula)
Last year’s Impact Forum attracted over 65 participants representing nonprofits, businesses, higher educational institutions, civic and faith-based groups, and government leaders from across the Peninsula. (Courtesy NetworkPeninsula)

NetworkPeninsula, a local group that strives to equip nonprofits with the tools they need to achieve their mission, is hosting its fourth annual Impact Forum next month at Legacy Hall.

This year’s forum is sponsored by GuideStar and will feature Kim Fortunato, director of the Healthy Communities initiative at The Campbell Soup Company.

Fortunato has extensive speaking experience on the topic of intentional versus reactive philanthropy and how nonprofits can partner with businesses in their communities to achieve results.

NetworkPeninsula Executive Director Karen Dutro characterizes the difference between the two types of philanthropy as similar to a hands-off versus hands-on approach to any project.

“Reactive philanthropy [from the point of view of a business] is sort of like just writing a check and the hearing back later about the outcome,” Dutro said. “Don’t get me wrong, sometimes that is all that’s needed, but this is more about truly engaging the community on an issue.”

Intentional philanthropy is about using the skills that are already present in local businesses to achieve philanthropic goals. If someone at a company has a particular talent for marketing or if a certain business has access to data that can be analyzed in a way that is beneficial to a non-profit, those types of services are often more valuable than an outright donation, according to Dutro.

The Campbell Soup Company took the initiative to create the Healthy Communities program after realizing the New Jersey community in which it is headquartered was suffering from epidemic levels of childhood obesity.

As the program’s director, Fortunato will speak from a place of experience as to how businesses can align what they do with their community outreach efforts, and how nonprofits can bring a wider variety of players to the table to address their needs.

“It’s about building relationships with businesses, churches and civic groups and making them realize they all have a stake in the issue,” Dutro said.

Fortunato’s presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session moderated by Rick Spatz, a former executive director of William & Mary Mason School of Business’ Executive Partners Program.

This event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at Legacy Hall in New Town. Registration is $25 per person and includes lunch. The deadline registration is Nov. 1. Click here to register.