The History of Business and Philanthropy

5 01 2022

Wednesday January 26th, 2021

Correct time: 5:00 pm EST 10:00pm GMT

It is generally understood that the prime function of any business enterprise is to generate profits; its central responsibility is to shareholders. The idea that business owners should also seek to perform social tasks is regarded as an ancillary activity. Historical evidence suggests that not all business leaders or organizations have been content simply to perform a commercial role in society. Numerous industrialists and entrepreneurs throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century made significant contributions to their local communities. The early efforts of socially responsible business leaders and companies are well documented. The character of corporate philanthropy has continued to evolve since the 19th Century along with changes in industry, society and the economy. From public service-minded business owners giving to church charities and pet projects, corporate philanthropy today takes on many forms, even as a broadly encompassing corporate social responsibility strategy. This panel will present and discuss the historical, contemporary, and future role of business and business leaders in the area of philanthropy.


Patricia Hardy is the CEO of The Tunnelwood Group, a strategic planning and consulting firm located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Patricia is the former Director of Development at The University of Winnipeg and served as National Campaign Director of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. She is the author of A History of Philanthropy in Canada.

Steven Ayer is the President of Common Good Strategies. Steve has deep experience in strategy and insights. He has worked in analytics, research, and marketing and sales roles in the charitable sector. He also has experience as a senior researcher for Imagine Canada where he has authored numerous publications on social impact and revenue strategies for nonprofits. Most recently he led the research and writing of Toronto’s Vital Signs report for the Toronto Foundation.

Professor Charles Harvey is Professor of Business History and Management and Director of the Centre for Research on Entrepreneurship, Wealth and Philanthropy at the Newcastle University Business School.  His current research interests include entrepreneurship and philanthropy, business elites, and historical organization studies.  He has published extensively on these topics.

Attendees will need to register to attend. All registered participants will be given Zoom login information on January 25th.  



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