Adobe: Corporate Philanthropy

Adobe Systems Forms Foundation to Broaden Community Philanthropy

In 2006, Adobe Systems Incorporated, one of the world’s largest, most diversified software companies, approached Rockfeller Philanthropy Advisors to conduct an analysis of the pros and cons of creating a corporate foundation. The company had been managing a corporate giving program with some strategic counsel from RPA for many years, but provided the majority of its grantmaking through a donor-advised fund at a local community foundation.

Implementing RPA’s Plan

Based on RPA’s expertise in the corporate social responsibility arena, Adobe asked the team to assess the company’s short- and long-term giving needs, factor in internal considerations, analyze how to best leverage existing resources, benchmark best practices and trends in corporate philanthropy, provide financial modeling and develop a full review of all options.

The project culminated in a series of recommendations that were presented to Adobe’s senior management. Adobe ultimately decided to implement RPA’s recommendations of both maintaining a strong relationship with the company’s community foundation and funding strategic and signature programs through its own corporate foundation.

Honing the mission

Adobe then turned to RPA to provide consulting and project management support for the start-up of the Adobe Foundation. Working closely with internal contacts and outside legal counsel, RPA provided guidance on how to leverage Adobe’s current philanthropic giving structure, create desired community impact, provide flexibility and balance business interests.

RPA helped to create the foundation’s mission, values and guiding principles statements; provided input and content on the exemption filing documents; drafted policies and procedures; and was on hand at the foundation’s first board meeting in 2007. RPA staff then took part in the selection and hiring process for the foundation’s first full-time employee.

Targeting underserved youth

Today, the Adobe Foundation is an integral part of Adobe’s community-engagement strategy. One example of its strategic and focused philanthropy, Adobe Youth Voices, is the Adobe Foundation’s global signature philanthropy program—designed to provide youth in underserved communities with the critical skills they need to become active and engaged members of their communities and the world at large.

The foundation is also a significant funder in the areas in which Adobe operates, including various locations in the United States, Britain and India. In 2007, it donated more than $25 million in cash and software and provided employee volunteer support to nonprofit organizations and schools.

Click here to return to Client Examples.

Philanthropists Set Spending Deadlines

The Wall Street Journal
May 21, 2009
By Shelly Banjo

A growing number of philanthropists are adopting spending deadlines and sunset provisions to ensure urgent global needs are addressed in a timely way.

By granting the entirety of funds within a certain period of time, these charitable efforts are looking to have a bigger immediate impact than traditional foundations, which are typically set up to last forever and pay out roughly 5% of assets a year.

Read the full article