Encircle is a nonprofit organization that brings families and communities together so LGBTQ youth can thrive. “Encircle’s success relies on the incredible generosity of individuals and businesses to make this mission a reality,” Larson said.
“The purpose of business is profit; the purpose of nonprofits is to solve difficult social problems. Both are essential to thriving communities. Nonprofits cannot accomplish their mission without the generosity and commitment of philanthropy, said Larsen. Partnerships between for-profit businesses and nonprofits can maximize charitable giving.
For-profit businesses in Utah could also benefit from fostering a culture of philanthropy from the start, Clark believes, and many of the state’s business leaders have found success with philanthropy as a core value. “We’ve all seen the legendary generosity of Eccles, Millers and Huntsman for decades, but it’s important to note that it doesn’t take generations of family foundations to do good. The next generation can and should always be there as we grow our business Give,” Clark said.
For evidence of Clark’s philanthropy-first theory, look at Utah’s own Cotopaxi. Utah’s first certified Benefit Corporation founded with philanthropy as its core value. When Cotopaxi launched in 2014, its mission to end extreme poverty and show that business can be a force for good in the world was uniquely central to its brand proposition.
davis smithCotopaxi’s founder and CEO attributes the company’s success to their strong commitment to giving back to the community. “For the first five years of Cotopaxi’s history, we have given away more money than we have earned. It took a lot of courage and conviction to take the step of putting our purpose and mission above profit,” said Smith.
Cotopaxi takes a holistic approach to eradicating poverty by dedicating a percentage of income to poverty alleviation work, skills-based volunteering and product donations. Last year, they helped nearly 1.3 million people living in poverty through the Cotopaxi Foundation. The company is also certified climate neutral, a member of 1% for the Planet and was recently backed by Bain Capital’s $1.2 billion impact fund, Bain Capital Double Impact.
“If I reflect on what has made Cotopaxi successful, we believe it is brave The optimism of ordinary people who choose to support responsible capitalism. The future of capitalism will involve consumers and employees investing their time and money in businesses that are deeply committed to their communities, protecting our planet, and putting stakeholders before profits. At the end of the day, I believe that doing good and doing well are not mutually exclusive, and in fact they will be inextricably linked as we strive to create a better version of capitalism,” Smith said.
The value of philanthropy is fully recognized by business leaders across the state. This recognition greatly enhances Utah’s philanthropic reputation. “For the business community to thrive, it is absolutely critical that philanthropy and service come first,” he said Brandon FugalChairman of Colliers International, one of Utah’s most prominent real estate and business leaders.
Fugal himself is no stranger to philanthropy, having been recognized in the state for his generous giving. “Support worthy causes, including scholarships and programs at Utah Valley University, with Sapreadonate to homeless initiatives, and advance women in tech through tech mom will continue to be an important part of my personal mission. I’m personally grateful for the opportunity to give back and work with others in an effort to uplift our community,” Fugal said.
Most recently, Clark returned to Clearlink, a company he started more than 20 years ago, sold more than 10 years ago, and bought it back in 2021. Recognizing the importance of business-led philanthropy in the state, Clark is eager to see the company expand based on its history of giving. To expand Clearlink’s corporate responsibility footprint and increase the company’s reach, Clarke will help the company build two new philanthropic channels, Clearlink Cares and Clearlink Causes.
Clearlink Cares will support volunteering efforts within the communities of all Clearlink employees, Allow Clearlinkers to engage with their community in a way that reflects their passion for the community Get in front of people and donate their time and talents. Clearlink Causes is focused on enabling Clearlink employees to direct their funds to organizations that have the greatest impact on their lives and communities, as Clearlink will provide a 1:1 gift match, up to $1,000 per employee per year. Andrea and James Clarke donated $100,000 to seed the program.
A legacy of service and philanthropy like those mentioned here is part of what makes Utah so strong. Any business, large or small, should prioritize philanthropy as a vehicle for growth and a purpose going forward, Clark said. Doing so clearly strengthens communities and businesses and helps build a better Utah.