Watch: PayPal exec Franz Paasche on a better approach to corporate philanthropy

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In 2020, American corporations donated $16.88 billion to charitable organizations. But in a time when companies are more committed to—and more vocal about—their ESG credentials than ever, it’s no longer considered enough just to cut a check.

To illustrate what it looks like when businesses more seamlessly incorporate philanthropy into their ethos, Quartz CEO Zach Seward spoke to Paypal’s chief corporate affairs officer Franz Paasche about its ongoing efforts to make sure nearly every aspect of its operations reflects its social impact mission.

Zach Seward in conversation with PayPal’s Franz Paasche

Paasche tells Seward how, when he joined Paypal in 2015, he and the rest of its leadership solidified that mission from a product standpoint—to provide access to the global economy for those traditionally underserved by the banking system—and set about finding ways to support it from a values standpoint.

They opted to not create a Paypal foundation, but to instead spread their philanthropic activities across everything from giving grants to black-owned businesses and offering mentorships to female entrepreneurs to investing in black- and Latinx-owned venture funds and enabling customers to make charitable donations through a Paypal Giving Fund.


Then, internally, they set up employee-organized community impact teams whose contributions and volunteer hours would be matched by Paypal-funded grants and donations. By including customers, non-profits, and employees in its philanthropic activities, Paypal has been able to make them less transactional and more authentic.


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