Empowering Growth: The Impact of Corporate Giving on Economic Development 

Melissa Kham, Vice President – Strategic Relations

By Melissa Kham, Vice President – Strategic Relations

At the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), we believe that a thriving economy should benefit everyone in our region, regardless of their background or circumstances. That is why we’re committed to an intentional, human-centered approach to regional economic development that prioritizes social equity, economic growth, steward leadership, community resilience, and environmental sustainability. 

To support our Five Pillar Strategy for Economic Development, LAEDC looks to connect businesses, education, philanthropy, government, and community organizations of all sizes into the process of economic development. Either as sponsors for events, program funders, or as members of our Board of Governors; being involved with LAEDC is the best way to show your organization’s values while being directly connected to our economy.  

LA’s Leader in Economic Development 

LAEDC is a public-benefit 501c3 nonprofit organization with a vision of a stronger regional economy that benefits everyone in our vast region of almost 10 million people. We measure our success with our impact on economic growth using our Five Pillar Strategy.  

Our Five Pillar Strategy starts with a data-driven, research-based approach, from there we work to cultivate key industry ecosystems, retain and grow microenterprises, small and large businesses, attract investment from domestic and international companies, and develop a competitive regional workforce.  

Our approach is grounded in the understanding that a dynamic economy requires a holistic approach that considers ecological, social, cultural, and psychological factors. The LAEDC works to collaboratively grow our regional economy, in a manner that is also equitable, resilient and sustainable.  

2023 Success include: 

  • Leading a coalition of 400+ partners to secure millions of dollars in state funding for an inclusive transition to a carbon-neutral economy that will prepare LA County to compete for tens of millions of dollars for the implementation of the California Jobs First.  
  • Spearheading regional partnerships to bolster the growing Bioscience, Digital Media & Entertainment, and Aerospace & Defense sectors in Los Angeles County by convening industry leaders. 
  • Supporting over 1,100 Los Angeles companies coping with recovery that resulted in retaining 3,200+ jobs for the region.  
  • Investing in the future workforce by engaging over 720 youth with industry partners in tech career programs.  
  • Guiding and shaping economic policies and programs by providing municipalities and governmental agencies with cutting-edge research on minimum wage, the digital divide, and other key economic issues that impact industries, businesses, and our workforce. 

 Our Five Pillar Strategy for Economic Development is directly supported by our relationships throughout the region, our members, and those who provide additional funds. It allows you and us to partner with like-minded organizations and an expert team of economic development professionals and economists to promote innovation around economic and workforce development, small business assistance, and Los Angeles’ leading and emerging industry clusters. 


Benefits of Corporate Giving to Nonprofits 

 Building a Reputation with Socially Responsibility 

Sixth Street Bridge at dusk. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has evolved from a mere buzzword to a fundamental business strategy. Companies are increasingly recognized not only for their products and services but also for their contribution to society, in fact many leading experts suggest that creating community is the best way to engage with Millennials and Gen Z. Engaging in CSR activities, especially through corporate philanthropy, enhances community participation on the regional level. By actively participating in societal causes our LAEDC members can commit to aiding local causes while learning more about the issues firsthand.  

Just this year alone, LAEDC’s corporate partnerships with Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Program and Microsoft’s Training the Next Generation of AI Experts helped address critical needs while furthering our member’s social responsibilities here in Los Angeles. 

Networking Opportunities: Connecting with other leaders in the field. 

Engaging with LAEDC is more than just writing us a check – we see our network as critical voices within our economy. By connecting with LAEDC, businesses and members can engage with a diverse range of stakeholders that can lead to new business partnerships, collaborative ventures, and the sharing of best practices.  

When executed with genuine intent and strategic alignment, corporate giving can significantly enhance a company’s reputation, engage and motivate employees, open new networking avenues, and provide financial benefits through tax advantages. As the business world continues to evolve, the integration of philanthropy into corporate strategy becomes a vital component of long-term success and sustainability. 


LAEDC’s Big Goals for 2028 

To accomplish our mission, we rely on the collective strength of support from around the region. Corporate support and contributions will be critical for LAEDC to meet our big goals. 

Create More Access Points for Underserved Communities to Join Career Pathways  

Determine barriers for students to access careers. LAEDC will work with schools and communities to develop and create access points so everyone in the Los Angeles region can participate in our strong economy.  

Identify and Reform Initiatives and Policies to Accelerate Economic Growth in Our Region  

LAEDC will research policies or programs that delay or prevent businesses from relocating here, expanding outputs, or hiring more employees. LAEDC will work with businesses and microenterprises to determine and propose initiatives, policies and programs that will support faster growth of industries in our region.  

 Attract New Domestic and Foreign Companies to Build Ecosystems  

LAEDC will determine what industries would have a competitive advantage and actively work to attract and retain those industries. We will do this by directly understanding the industry’s current landscape and future needs with industry leaders and suppliers.  

Build Industry Cluster Templates to Spur Growth  

LAEDC will develop and launch industry-based templates informed by research, community stakeholders, educational partners, and business leaders. These templates will allow industry ecosystems to thrive and grow in our region and provide quality jobs for our family, friends, and neighbors.   

Connect Industries to Their Communities   

LAEDC will continue its work as a convener and trusted voice of our communities to ensure that economic growth is human-centric and equitable. LAEDC knows that economic growth is either slow or stagnant without informed community support. We want to ensure that everyone has the chance to guide decision-making in a way that benefits businesses, industries, and communities.  


Join Us and Your Region for the Future 

Two women working at a dry erase board, talking to each other.

The LAEDC’s approach of tying your support to our Five Pillar Strategy, we can exemplify how corporate giving and engagement can be transformative forces in economic development. By fostering inclusive growth, prioritizing social equity, and embracing environmental sustainability, LAEDC sets a standard for how organizations can effectively drive regional economic progress. Corporate involvement in these efforts not only enhances their own image as socially responsible entities but also contributes significantly to the overall economic and social health of the community.  

As we move forward, the active participation with LAEDC will be crucial in shaping a resilient, equitable, and prosperous economic landscape that benefits all. For those looking to make a meaningful impact and be part of this transformative journey, LAEDC offers a unique platform to connect, contribute, and grow alongside the community. 

If you’re interested in supporting the LAEDC and our mission to reinvent our regional economy, contact Vice President of Strategic Relations Melissa Kham at [email protected] or Director of Strategic Relations Janice Levy at [email protected] 

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