Philanthropy Among CEOs – Karen and Charles Phillips

Philanthropy Among CEOsMore and more regularly, we hear of CEOs that engage in philanthropic activities. Of no exception is Charles Phillips, Infor CEO. Before his role at Infor, he was President of Oracle, and Managing Director at Morgan Stanley before that. He is a highly educated man, and he has a strong military background.

Nobody truly knows what Charles Phillips’ net worth currently is. However, between 2008 and 2010, when he worked as Oracle’s President, he earned some $30 million per year. He didn’t let this money sit in the bank, however. Instead, together with his wife Karen, he founded the Phillips Charitable Organizations (PCO) in 2010. As Charles Phillips’ wife, Karen felt that the focus should be strongly on both the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields, the military, and the African American community, which is where the PCO gives the most grants to.

The PCO is a nonprofit that gives single parents, wounded veterans, and STEM students financial aid. They do this in a quick and efficient way, having zero overhead costs. To date, they have granted to the Micro Learning Foundation, the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Foundation, the United States Air Force Academy Diversity Visitation Program, the United Negro College Fund, the Harlem Village Academies, and the East Harlem Tutorial Program. All of these work on the values that the PCO wishes to support.

Phillips himself is African American. He wants to ensure that there is an increase of diversity in the world of business, something that was extensively discussed in a Fortune Magazine article. Phillips always embodies his own beliefs, and has therefore changed the way his company recruits. Rather than going straight to Yale or Harvard, Infor finds interns to place in different divisions, building on talent rather than Ivy League education. Phillips himself went to a historically black college to obtain his MBA.

Another thing Phillips adores is jazz, which is why he has also granted Jazz at Lincoln Center. However, this has been a personal donation, rather than one made by the PCO. The PCO, meanwhile, grants not just to educational establishments, but also to individual people. The board members believe there was a gap in the community, as there was no opportunity for individuals, including single parents, engineering students, and wounded veterans, to gain quick financial assistance to solve an urgent problem. This is why the PCO has supported a number of individuals, including Kenisha Murray, a single mother who worked full time while studying at the same time. The PCO has made an easy online application form available for those who believe they may qualify for help.

The Phillips’ and the PCO have made a number of other interesting grants, including to the National Toxic Encephalopathy Foundation. In so doing, they have supported the victims of the Flint, MI toxic water scandal. Whether the PCO intends to also start focusing on environmental issues is unclear, but it does show the breadth of issues that they concern themselves with.

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