A sponsorship or naming-right agreement can help a corporation reach thousands or even millions, depending on the type of activity supported. However, while these partnerships present companies with major opportunities to spread their names, the public also can benefit in a variety of ways.
In addition to the sponsorship-supported event, the public can learn about a company’s values and priorities, through the activities a company chooses to support. As opposed to advertising, through these affiliations, corporations are directly demonstrating what they deem important to the communities they serve.
“Charitable giving is very important to Comerica’s overall business objectives,” said Caroline Chambers, vice president and corporate contributions manager for Detroit-based Comerica Bank.
“We understand and value the need to reinvest in the communities where we do business. It makes good business sense to have healthy, viable communities to support our workforce and customer base.”
In 2005, Comerica and the Comerica Charitable Foundation gave more than $13 Million in charitable gifts nationwide. Many of these gifts supported company initiatives, addressed arising needs in surrounding communities, and helped provide a foundation for future growth and prosperity in the bank’s service areas.
“We have a strong interest in programs that provide affordable housing, job training and entrepreneurship programs to those with low and moderate incomes,” Chambers said. “We also have a great interest in supporting higher education, especially in the areas of business, finance and entrepreneurship training.”
Chambers said in the business of charitable gifts and sponsorships, accountability is critical.
“We require grantees to report on outcomes from programs of grants we have made. We are always enthusiastic to see evidence of numbers of people who have benefitted from services provided by a nonprofit organization, whether it’s ability to own their own home, start their own business and make a comfortable living, or students who have had opportunity to attend college through scholarships we’ve funded,” she said.
“It is our hope that any programs we fund will have some measurable, positive impact on our community.”
In her position, Chambers has an opportunity to help Comerica touch thousands of lives throughout metropolitan Detroit by identifying organizations and events that positively impact the region, such as the upcoming Ford Detroit Football Classic, which showcases the black college experience. On Sept. 1, the night before the game matching Florida A&M against Delaware State, the bank will sponsor the Comerica Bank Salute To Scholarship Gala. Comerica is a four-year sponsor of this event, which will be held at Seldom Blues.
“The Detroit Football Classic has provided an excellent opportunity for Comerica to be involved with an exciting community event and make a sizable impact by supporting scholarship funds for students from the Detroit area to attend historically black colleges and universities,” Chambers said.
“This sponsorship supports our company mission of helping people be successful and that is really what any sponsorship should be about.”
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