It’s a well-worn cliche, but the world of business continues to evolve at an exponential pace. While historically a business focused mainly on its own financial success, these days, success isn’t measured purely by profit. With younger generations rising up and dictating the trends of the professional world, more and more companies are seeking to determine what they can do outside of their traditional business activities in order to make a meaningful contribution to society. In many cases, this is recognized as a company’s corporate social responsibility.
While it is still true that “money makes the world go round,” businesses large and small are increasingly looking beyond their financial balance sheet to infuse comprehensive social responsibility programs into their corporate DNA. Ideally, these philanthropic strategies should be purpose-driven and engaging, while still adding, and certainly not detracting, from the all-important bottom line.
Gabriel Sanz, an internationally renowned banker and financier based in Madrid, has been a pioneer in this arena. He has been the catalyst for and architect of corporate social responsibility strategies in a number of banking institutions worldwide. Sanz has developed a corporate responsibility "template" that banks and businesses can use to guide their charitable giving. It focuses on four main areas: marketing, employee morale, tax reduction, and of course, doing good while strengthening the community.
“When I was the Institutional Business Developer at BanPlus Banco Universal, an important bank at the time in Venezuela, I spearheaded charitable campaigns with a number of local and national charities,” Sanz says. “These included major campaigns to help those stricken with Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. We also sponsored an annual Golf Tournament to Benefit the Children’s Orthopedic Hospital. I have since evolved into raising money and developing fundraising plans for charities in the Caribbean and Europe while still raising money and making deals in the business world”
Known throughout the industry for his financial acumen as well as his charitable endeavors, Sanz's expertise in raising funds and designing successful social corporate responsibility strategies is largely a byproduct of, and immeasurably strengthened by, his impressive background in business. He possesses a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of the world of finance and fundraising.
After his time at BanPlus in Venezuela, he continues to build a network of close relationships with some of the financial world’s biggest players. As a result of the political turmoil in Venezuela, he established a bank in the Caribbean that focuses on anti-money laundering protections, and he has been a key figure in many development and investment projects throughout the region. And as of late, Sanz found the opportunity to use his fundraising prowess to serve another extremely worthwhile cause, raising the funds to produce a documentary about political repression and the attacks on free speech in Venezuela. Both the documentary and Mr. Sanz ultimately won Emmys for this project.
Presently, the banking executive is looking to transition into full-time charitable fundraising.
“I attribute my personal and business success, and the success of the companies I have led and been involved with to a credo of ‘giving back’ wherever possible,” Sanz says. “More and more I see the need for banks and corporations to step up and fill the vacuum created when governments scale back their social safety nets. With ballooning government deficits, climate change, immigration, not to mention disease and pandemics, it’s more important than ever for large and small businesses to fund charities that address people's needs."
Gabriel Sanz is an example to many businesses and corporations, showing them just how profound and influential they can be with the right corporate social initiatives. After perfecting the art of corporate social responsibility, Sanz now looks to help both banks and businesses in general evolve to accept a greater role in philanthropic and the funding of charitable foundations, and in so doing, to make the world a much better place.