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Five Corporate Organizations and Their Humanitarian Spin-Offs

In 2015, a famous photograph of a toddler’s body on a Turkish beach evoked a global reaction. International corporations quickly responded by donating an unprecedented $17 million to refugee aid in one week to help Syrian refugees.

This massive donation is the embodiment of the shift that is going on in the corporate business world. While the donations might go higher, their efforts also go deeper. Forward-thinking companies now look to bring their core capabilities and resources to a humanitarian crisis. Many of today’s crises cannot be solved by money alone. Large corporations can bring specific resources and knowledge to solve complex problems such as economic, social, political and environmental conflict. To make this as effective as it can possibly be, close collaboration with humanitarian organizations is key. The organizations listed below are the humanitarian spin-offs invoked by large corporations and go further than making donations alone.

  • Humanitarian Innovation Network – Deloitte
    The Deloitte network focuses on providing the humanitarian sector with the same skills and expertise provided to their clients every day by contributing pro-bono skills and expertise to help address the sector’s most pressing challenges. By collaborating with local, national and international actors, Deloitte member firms bring together new combinations of expertise to co-create innovative solutions to make an impact.
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – Microsoft
    Although Microsoft isn’t involved in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the revenue of the tech-giant enabled founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda to establish the foundation. Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people especially those with the fewest resources have access to the opportunities that they need to succeed in school and life.
  • Logistics Emergency Teams – Agility, UPS and Maersk
    The LET is comprised of three of the largest global logistics and transportation companies: Agility, UPS and Maersk, which work together to support the Logistics Cluster led by United Nations World Food Programme. This partnership was facilitated by the World Economic Forum in 2005.
    The companies join forces to offer support for the humanitarian sector during emergency response to large-scale natural disasters and deploy worldwide upon request from the Global Logistics Cluster for free. The LET unites the capacity and resources of the logistics industry with the expertise and experience of the humanitarian community to provide more effective and efficient disaster relief. A key reason for cooperating through the LET is to provide demand-driven, efficient response. The LET is the first partnership of its kind, formalizing a multi-stakeholder cooperation between the private and public sector. It remains one of the best WEF-initiated and operationalized public-private partnerships.
  • MasterCard Aid Network - MasterCard
    This network allows NGOs, UN agencies and governments to control and monitor the items that beneficiaries are able to receive: relating to food, health, shelter, water, sanitation and other basic necessities. The solution provides electronic reporting for ease-of-use and transparency, which takes the burden off field workers and merchants who normally manually reconcile transactions through a cumbersome and error-prone process. MasterCard Aid Network can process transactions and disburse allocations offline because the chip on the smart card and its interactions with the terminal are self-contained.
  • Ford Foundation – Ford
    Created in 1936 by Edsel Ford and Henry Ford, it was originally funded by a US$25,000 gift from Edsel Ford. Between 1955 and 1974, the foundation sold its Ford Motor Company holdings and now plays no role in the automobile company.
    The Ford Foundation is guided by a vision of social justice—a world in which all individuals, communities and people work towards the protection and full expression of their human rights; are active participants in the decisions that affect them; share equitably in the knowledge, wealth, and resources of society; and are free to achieve their full potential. For eight decades, The Ford Foundation has been active to reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international co-operation and advance human achievement.

We are proud to serve multiple compassionate humanitarian spin-offs who try to improve the lives of millions of people worldwide. Interested in more stories? Please follow our blog for more humanitarian stories, organizations and travel information.