Family Businesses Give Back to Communities

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Photo (CC) by Katie, on Flickr

Information provided by Diane Masuo, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa

I have the opportunity to work with colleagues from land grant colleges and universities across the country. Part of what I am involved with is the study of family businesses. Diane, one of our team members, recently examined how family businesses support the communities where they are located.

Family businesses are more prevalent than most people think. Family businesses come in all shapes and sizes from the main streets stores in our town to the major ones such as WalMart, Cargill, Ford and Mars.

Family businesses, in total, represent one-third of the S & P 500 index, and comprising nearly 10 million firms in total.

Family businesses are the retail, small manufacturers, and service businesses we see and use every day. Our economy would quickly come to a halt if we didn’t have family businesses in our world.

Yet to think that they only provide goods and services underestimates their importance in our communities. Diane explored what “socially responsible practices and economic support” they also provide. She noted:
– Male business owners were more likely than female business owners to:
—- Provide financial and technical assistance in community development and planning
—- Made monetary donations to schools.
– Non-service sector businesses were more likely to be personally involved through holding elected offices and leading civic groups.

Business owners were found to give back to their communities. It didn’t matter if they were home-based businesses or not home-based business. Length of time living in the community seems to play a part in the willingness to give back.

Length of time in business directly influenced what type of resources were given. In the earlier years it was more likely to be monetary donations with leadership positions and technical assistance added to the giving as the business matured.

Diane’s recently released report can be found at: www2.hawaii.edu/~masuo/CSR_Natl_070615.pdf

So as you think about your community’s family businesses, remember the unseen resources of time and money they provide along with jobs, taxes, and needed goods and services we depend on.

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