'Philanthropy is about society, not money-making'
Irish businesses have been told they should see philanthropy as being about communities and society, and not about developing their brands and making money.
Dr Jacob A Gayle, President of Medtronic Foundation which makes and develops life-changing medical devices, said such an approach would benefit society and businesses.
He was delivering an address as part of a series of lectures by Philanthropy Ireland. He said in general Irish firms were engaged socially, and that "philanthropy is a natural part of the Irish community".
But speaking before the address, he said: "So many times people think corporate philanthropy is about marketing a company, putting out its name and its brand and making it popular and ultimately financially successful.
"In reality philanthropy is the opposite. It's really a selflessness. (It's about asking) how can a corporation recognise that it has a responsibility and opportunity to help the communities from which it benefits," Dr Gayle said.
He added that the ethos fuelling corporate philanthropy should not be about "putting out the company's name" but about "the company serving the community that helps it".
The address was part of the Ray Murphy series of lecturers organised by Philanthropy Ireland and named in memory of the group's former CEO. Dr Gayle said more and more people were choosing goods, or even jobs, that meet their needs while also helping others.
Group CEO of renewable energy firm NTR Rosheen McGuckian said corporate philanthropy was in its infancy in Ireland but called on enterprises to engage more.