Investors Management Corporation (IMC)—a privately held company that partners with organizations sharing a common ethos—believes in supporting and empowering people so they can thrive. This principle guides the company’s work with its current seven partner companies representing more than 50,000 employees. It also drives IMC’s commitment to giving back to the community, an approach actively endorsed by IMC CEO Stuart Frantz and Board Chair Easter Maynard.

Since 2003, IMC has conducted its corporate grantmaking through ChildTrust Foundation, which invests in nonprofit organizations focused on early childhood education and literacy in North Carolina. In 2019, in order to better respond to broader community needs, the company expanded its philanthropic giving by launching an employee-managed giving program called the IMC Gives Fund. In partnership with Triangle Community Foundation, IMC Gives offers grants twice a year to nonprofits focused on identified current issues in the community.

Katherine Dorsey and a committee of four co-workers oversee the IMC Gives Fund, alongside the Foundation’s director of donor engagement, Natalia Siegel.  “The Fund provides small, single-year grants with our focus areas changing annually based on the needs of the community. We enjoy having the flexibility to pivot from year to year depending on what need is greatest in our area,” Katherine says. “Triangle Community Foundation has been such an asset for us over the past few years. This spring our giving focused on organizations that support mental health since that’s currently a big area of need in our community. Our committee members often have recommendations and ideas, then we work with the Foundation, Natalia specifically, to find out what she’s hearing in the nonprofit community. Once we decide on a focus area, we work with the Foundation to find organizations that should apply for our grant.”

For other businesses looking to create a similar type of grant program in their company, Katherine says some of it depends on whether the organization already has a philanthropic arm. “IMC Gives was built from a desire to respond to community requests that weren’t a fit for ChildTrust’s focus on early childhood,” she says. “Our committee worked together to create operational guidelines, write a mission statement, and lay out our focus and approach to giving that serves as a foundation for IMC Gives.”

Katherine notes there are several things that are important to the committee, including aligning grantmaking with IMC’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives. “We try and connect the work we do at IMC to our values,” she says. “Whether it’s our work with our partner companies or our community, we always strive to make sure what we do ties back to our ethos.”

In terms of specific advice, Katherine mentions the importance of having a partner, as she says it plays a big role in their success. “We have our everyday jobs here in addition to the committee work, which is a voluntary position,” she says. “There are so many organizations in our community doing amazing work that we might not be aware of, so it’s reassuring to know we have a partner like Natalia who is so well-versed in philanthropy in our community and who we can lean on for support. I think being strategic and diverse with your committee is also very important. Our committee is comprised of team members from our tax department, business development, finance, and personnel administration, so just having a diverse population of folks from different departments with different skillsets and mindsets is really helpful.”

On the grantee side, Katherine says they’ve learned a lot about managing their own expectations and how to be aware of unintentional bias during the application process. “Natalia gave a great presentation about bias as it pertains to applications from an equity standpoint and what bias could potentially look like in ways none of us really ever considered before.”

In thinking about the future for IMC Gives, Katherine hopes it will eventually be more forward facing in the community as the company and its philanthropy continue to grow over the years. At some point, Katherine would like to move out of the Chair position and give others on the team a chance to lead. “I’m eager to see how IMC Gives grows and evolves over the years under the leadership of my coworkers. I know it will be exciting to watch.”