A corporate gift from Frontinus

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Karen and Anthony Haynes gave a corporate gift of £1,000 to the Trust’s campaign, #RememberingJohn. Karen and Anthony were friends of John and remain close to Susie today

Corporate giving describes donations that companies make to charitable causes – these can be cash or in kind.

The term corporate giving perhaps most evokes big business and ‘CSR’ – corporate social responsibility. In a 2018 report, the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) noted that in its latest survey of public attitudes, 60 per cent agreed that ‘corporate responsibility is just a PR exercise for business’. Think Big Oil and the ‘greenwashing’ debate. Or that Big Pharma account for over half the corporate giving of FTSE 100 companies.

But maybe corporate giving is too easily associated with bolstering public image. It’s easy to forget how companies of all sizes support charities. In 2018 it was reported that 70 per cent of small and medium sized companies donate to charity (20 per cent regularly). Two-thirds of these donors said giving had a positive impact on profitability.

We’re a small company in the communications business. Frontinus works in engineering and allied sectors, helping researchers, engineers and other technologists win bids, write better for publication and improve internal communications.

For our first 12 years we gave to charitable causes ad hoc. This year we tried to be a bit more strategic and identified a sum to donate over several years. We decided to mention our corporate giving on our website, agreeing with CAF that ‘corporate philanthropy can often allow the business to show giving as part of its narrative and identity.’

The causes we’ve chosen for 2020 are primarily driven by personal interests, but some also link to our business purpose.

We’re called Frontinus after an engineering author from the first century AD. Frontinus wrote De Aquaeductu Urbis Romae, an official report for his Emperor on the state of the aqueducts of Rome. So it’s fitting that we’re supporting Pump Aid and Practical Action: both charities work to improve water supply in developing countries.

Supporting the John Schofield Trust also connects with Frontinus Ltd. John was a great model for all communicators: he did his research extremely well; he was driven by finding and conveying the facts; he was an exceptional storyteller.

The John Schofield Trust does hugely important work to make journalism richer and more diverse by supporting early career and aspiring journalists across the UK. We’re pleased to support its fundraising campaign to sustain and extend that work.

If you are interested in giving a corporate gift, please get in touch at info@johnschofieldtrust.org.uk