It is no secret that the people who work in the middle market and the larger financial industry are fortunate. They tend to be highly educated, and leaders in driving economic growth. But among this group are individuals who, beyond their commitment to the success of their companies, spend their time and money to give back to their community or to causes close to their heart. These actions produce impactful results that reverberate at all levels of the global community.
The term “giving back” has a different definition for all people. It can mean writing a check, volunteering or even using one’s financial prowess to start a foundation or sustainable charity. David Rubinstein, co-founder of The Carlyle Group, is well-noted for his philanthropic giving, including being a signatory on Warren Buffett and Bill Gates’ Giving Pledge, in which billionaires pledge to give away at least half of their worth. But at Carlyle, giving isn’t just something its leaders do on their own time—it’s a growing part of the fabric of the firm itself, and of the private capital investment community in general.
Carlyle gives its employees two paid days off a year to engage in charitable work, and matches up to $2,000 for each individual employee’s philanthropic giving. (That’s double the company’s original offer of one day and $1,000.) Efforts have extended to programs making its portfolio companies more environmentally responsible, and increasing minority representation in private equity. In 2011, Carlyle identified itself as the first private equity firm to issue a “corporate citizenship” report, which it now publishes annually.
Chris Ullman, managing director and director of global communication for Carlyle, says the company didn’t make a big deal initially when it launched its philanthropic efforts. But he says it’s finding that people want to be a part of a private equity firm that’s doing good. “Investors like it, it’s important to them, and they want to know about it,” Ullman says. He cited a deal in which a Dutch investment bank chose Carlyle over other suitors with the responsible investing and charitable work as the deciding factor.