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Q&A with Capital Group and Board Member Bill Flumenbaum

Featured Funder: The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation

For over 20 years, Capital Group and the Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation have supported ESC, not just as a funder but also as a source of Board leadership.  

Since it was founded in Los Angeles in 1931, Capital Group has grown into one of the world’s largest investment management organizations, managing over $2 trillion. While this is of course impressive, the company truly prides itself on its commitment to charitable causes and the deep involvement of its associates in those efforts.  

We spoke with Bianca Dobrikovic, Corporate Charitable Giving Business Partner, and Bill Flumenbaum, Senior Vice President and Investment Counselor and ESC Board member, about Capital Group’s commitment to philanthropy and how our continued partnership supports both Capital Group’s and ESC’s missions to create a strong and impactful nonprofit sector.  

Capital Group is known for its powerful commitment to philanthropy, and for supporting nonprofits in our community. Can you speak to this commitment, and why it is so vitally important to your organization?

Bianca Dobrikovic: Capital Group’s mission is to improve people’s lives through successful investing, and it’s also our motivation for doing all we can to make a positive impact on our associates and communities.

Through our philanthropy, we achieve that by taking a unique approach within the corporate space. Nearly all of Capital Group’s philanthropy, which totals almost $300 million in the past ten years, supports nonprofit organizations chosen by our associates. We’ve designed our philanthropic programs – which we collectively refer to as Capital Cares – to encourage and amplify our associates’ diverse passions. More than 3,700 local and global nonprofit organizations benefit annually from the personal involvement of our people and donations. These organizations represent a broad spectrum of causes and interests, ranging from the environment, education, and health to human rights, housing, and the arts. But financial support is only part of the story. Through Capital Cares, we’re also supporting the personal and professional growth of our people. There are 400 associates serving on nonprofit boards and many others serving in volunteer or leadership roles.  

You’ve been a deeply valued partner of ESC for many years. What is it about ESC’s work that resonates with Capital Group and your philosophy for giving?

Bianca: Most importantly, the work of ESC resonates with our associates. For many years, we’ve had an associate serving on the board of ESC. As I mentioned, our giving is designed to support the organizations where we have a deep level of involvement.

It also resonates that ESC’s commitment is to not just supporting the nonprofit sector, but truly strengthening it.

What makes a strong nonprofit in today’s challenging environment?

Bianca: We’ve been doing a lot of learning over the past couple of years on trust-based philanthropy. And I believe one of the things nonprofits need most from funders is trust. Community-based nonprofit organizations know their communities, their communities’ needs, and potential solutions better than anyone else. It’s the responsibility of funders to listen, be responsive, and provide resources for nonprofit to do the work. 

We know that a strong board strengthens a nonprofit. Through our philanthropy, we are investing in and supporting our associates to get involved. We often say that our true legacy and impact, beyond contributing funds, is through our people. We’re continuously inspired by the leadership, time, and talents our associates dedicate to the nonprofits they are passionate about.

What’s next for Capital Group and its philanthropy and how do you see it evolving in the coming years?

Bianca: In the coming years, Capital Group will continue to lean into trust-based principles of philanthropy to improve our programs and processes. We will continue to center equity in our work, both internally and externally, by removing barriers for our own associates to direct Capital’s philanthropy, and for nonprofits to access that philanthropy.

Bill, what does it mean to you personally to be a part of a company that has philanthropy so central to its identity?

Bill Flumenbaum: It instills in me a sense of pride. Our firm’s deep commitment to supporting our associates in their philanthropic endeavors is in Capital’s DNA and reflects not only generosity, but also respect for each individual’s initiatives. Capital is truly committed to supporting the charitable work of each and every associate.

How do you see your work with ESC aligning with your work at Capital Group?

Bill: I have a number of foundations and nonprofit organizations as clients through Capital Group, and those responsibilities offer me a depth of understanding of their concerns and aspirations. This, in turn, translates to strengthening my commitment and activities in support of ESC. Conversely, my experiences with ESC provide insight into the nonprofit sector, both through our challenges and successes and those of our clients. My professional and volunteer experiences complement each other to make me more capable in both roles.

What would you say to other corporations about the importance of corporate philanthropy?

Bill: The needs are obvious, the opportunity to make a difference clear. In particular, though, I would suggest that corporations consider supporting their employees’ philanthropic activities through a robust matching gift program. The benefits of such a program are considerable, to the nonprofit as well as the company. It amplifies the charitable impact in support of the causes employees support, and employees feel genuine appreciation for the company’s support. This creates long-term benefits for the work culture as well as communities.

Bianca: There are so many benefits to corporate philanthropy. In addition to meaningfully impacting communities, there can often be significant internal benefits. Depending on how companies structure their giving programs, it can be an opportunity to increase employee engagement. Capital Group offers a new associate donation program, matching program, milestone anniversary program, grant program, and more. All are designed to empower our associates to direct Capital’s philanthropic support. We know from experience that higher levels of engagement in philanthropy supports our recruiting and retention goals. The last thing I’ll add is that when giving back is foundational to a company’s mission and values, it positively impacts the overall culture.

Thank you both for taking the time to share how Capital Group, the Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation, and Capital Group’s associates put their commitment to philanthropy and service into action.

We are fortunate to have you as partners in our shared work, and we look forward to all the good we will continue to do together!