At a recent congressional briefing convened by the Council on Foundations, several business, foundation, and community leaders spoke to members of Congress about the connection between philanthropy and job creation.
Although private philanthropic support will never replace government investment as an engine of job creation, it represents a significant part of the national investment in workforce development. According to the Foundation Center, the nation's largest 1,300 foundations invested more than $300 million in workforce education in 2007, while data from the Philanthropic Collaborative show that in the same year foundation grants totaling $42.9 billion helped generate nearly $368 billion in direct economic benefits to communities.
During the briefing, Stephanie Powers, managing director of the Public-Philanthropic Partnership Initiative at the Council on Foundations, emphasized philanthropy's role in bringing business and government together to fully leverage their resources and help create sustainable economic growth. As an example of such partnerships, presenters at the briefing highlighted the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, a $30 million public-private philanthropic initiative that has leveraged more than $110 million to strengthen and expand workforce development practices across the country. The fund operates in thirty-one communities and has helped more than 18,000 job-seekers find employment or access job training since 2007.
"Employers will tell you today that they have two crucial needs to begin to compete again in the global markets: access to capital and talent," said Powers. "Without these, they cannot expand and strengthen. Employers need the support and partnerships from educational institutions, civic leaders, and public and nonprofit workforce development programs to provide much-needed support for adult job seekers and incumbent workers."