Back to Where It All Began

By Sara Appleyard Adams, Senior Director, Communications and Marketing, CECP
Nov 18, 2019 11:30 AM ET

Paul Newman was worried. In 1982, he’d started his own food company, Newman’s Own, Inc., to give all of its profits to charitable organizations to address pressing social challenges. He’d won awards for his work as an actor, a racecar driver, and as a philanthropist, particularly for his work founding The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for kids coping with cancer and other serious illnesses. Yet, by 1997, the path he’d pioneered with Newman’s Own to utilize corporate resources in service of societal good seemed to be just little more than a footpath, not the speedway he’d envisioned.

Seeking a way to accelerate his impacts, Newman called Peter Malkin, now Chairman Emeritus of Empire State Realty Trust, whose father-in-law, Lawrence A. Wien, had used shareholder activism to increase annual giving by global companies by $100 million. But after Wien suspended his efforts, Newman told Malkin, “Corporate philanthropy is down. Corporations have to step up. They have to do more.”

Newman and Malkin recalled an earlier era when companies enabled social good, a time when a CEO led the company to invest in communities based on personal passions, supporting the local hospital, art museum, or ballet. Yet, giving was reactive and not likely connected to business strategy. In an era dedicated to short-term earnings, how could they inspire and encourage a new commitment to philanthropy?

Read the full blog post on the CECP Insights blog: