Start of menu
Search US website
Close Menu

American Express Philanthropy - A 1st Quarter 2014 CSR Report

January 27, 2014


Summary
In 2013, American Express contributed $30 million in over 400 grants to nonprofit organizations around the world in our priority giving areas of Historic Preservation, Leadership and Community Service. Grants were made to organizations in 21 states and 12 countries. Additionally, we supported over 6,500 organizations through our employee gift matching program. We also migrated to an on-line grants application and review process, which resulted in over 8,000 visits to the site by nonprofit organizations and nearly 1,200 proposals saving over 50,000 sheets of paper.

Preserving Places
In this program area, we support projects that preserve or rediscover major historic sites in order to provide sustainable access and enjoyment for current and future audiences.

In 2013, we implemented our Partners in Preservation program with the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, DC. After identifying 25 historic sites needing restoration, over 50,000 community members helped us determine where $1 million in preservation grants would be contributed. The site with the most votes was the National Cathedral, which received a grant to help with its restoration after an earthquake in 2012. Thirteen other preservation grants were awarded and eleven organizations received small operating grants.

Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral


Additionally, we made a $1 million grant to restore the Decatur House Slave Quarters, one of the few remaining examples of slave quarters in an urban setting. First Lady Michelle Obama helped announce the grant, which was in support of the White House Historical Association (see my CSR Now! posting of January 21, 2014).

Two other important restoration projects were funded through the National Trust for Historic Preservation's National Treasures Program: a grant to help fund a study to restore the Miami Marine Stadium in Miami, Florida to its original 1962 innovative design (see my CSR Now! posting of November 4, 2013), and a major grant to help restore the ceiling of Union Station in Washington, DC.

The World Monuments Fund announced its 2014 Watch List, which is sponsored by American Express, and the world took note of the 67 endangered historic sites with over 900 news stories in 49 countries. We'll be making grants to support a number of these endangered sites in 2014.

Other grants went to organizations as diverse as the New York Hall of Science (to preserve the faceted cobalt glass built for the 1964 World's Fair), Phoenix Shot Tower (to build awareness of this historic site in Baltimore) and Villa Ocampo in Argentina (to adapt this historic site from its use as a family home to a house museum).

New York Hall of Science

The New York Hall of Science


Developing Leaders
Through this theme, we support projects that embrace the best methods, programs and partners that provide current and future nonprofit leaders with practical opportunities to learn and build leadership skills.

In 2013, we trained 330 emerging nonprofit leaders through eight American Express Leadership Academy programs in New York, Phoenix, Tokyo, London, Gurgaon (India) and Washington, DC. The Leadership Academy is designed as a multidisciplinary approach to training the next generation of nonprofit leaders through an intense, five-day leadership development program. Our partners in this effort include the Center for Creative Leadership (New York and Washington, DC), Common Purpose (London and Gurgaon), Japan Philanthropic Association and ETIC (Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Community) (Tokyo) and Thunderbird School of Global Management (Phoenix).

We also expanded the American Express Emerging Innovators Boot Camp, which is designed to help train the next generation of social entrepreneurs, from its original location in New York to Toronto and Mexico City. In addition, to the individuals impacted directly through the training, over 3,000 other social entrepreneurs were reached through an online platform and Twitter chats. Our partner in this effort is Ashoka. (See my CSR Now! postings from October 15 and 21, 2013)

In addition, we made over 90 grants to nonprofit organizations to create, develop, expand or maintain their own development programs for high potential leaders. Over 4,300 emerging leaders were impacted by grants to organizations as diverse as Acumen, the National Urban League, the NYU Women of Color Policy Network, Theatre Communications Group, Coro New York Leadership Center, Georgia Center for Nonprofits, Independent Sector, Points of Light Foundation, and YouthBuild.

Serving Communities
We encourage good citizenship by supporting organizations that cultivate meaningful opportunities for civic engagement by our employees and members of the community through our Community Service program.

In 2013, we awarded over 107 grants to fund community service projects that resulted in thousands of volunteers building or restoring over 400 homes, planting 50,000 trees and restoring 125 parks, mentoring 90,000 young people, creating over 100,000 care kits for hospitalized children, and rescuing 45 million pounds of food to be distributed to the hungry. We also provided grants to a number of relief organizations following natural disasters (see my CSR Now! posting of May 6, 2013).

Organizations supported included the American Red Cross, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs, Children's Health Fund, City Harvest, City Year, Do Something, Habitat for Humanity, Harlem Children's Zone, International Rescue Committee, Junior Achievement, Operation Homefront, Project Sunshine, United Way, Australian Business and Community Network, and Sussex Community Foundation (UK).

In addition, we mobilized employees in more than 150,000 hours of company-sponsored volunteer service, achieved 75 percent participation in our annual employee giving campaign in the United States (as well as over 50 percent in Canada and nearly 60 percent in India), and delivered over 6,000 hours of consulting services valued at $750,000 to nonprofits around the globe through our Serve2Gether Consulting program with the Taproot Foundation and Ashoka as our partners.

All in all, it was a very good and impactful year for philanthropy and employee engagement at American Express. If you have a question or comment, please share it by clicking here. Alternatively, you can follow me on Twitter at @timmcclimon and comment there. Thanks for reading and sharing this report with others.
 

P.S. Did you know that over 93 percent of participants in our flagship American Express Leadership Academy in New York during the past five years are still working in the nonprofit sector and over 70 percent of them have been promoted or took positions with greater responsibility?

 

Welcome Box - CSR Now

Welcome!

Welcome to CSR Now!, a weekly blog designed to get at what’s happening in Corporate Social Responsibility today – from the point of view of a corporate practitioner.
MORE

 

Hear Tim McClimon's interview on The Business of Giving podcast










2014 (43)

2013 (44)

2012 (45)