Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose (CECP) is a coalition of executives from more than 200 large corporations that advocates for expanding corporate philanthropic and left-leaning “social responsibility” programs and initiatives, especially relating to racial diversity and climate change. The group was founded by actor and philanthropist Paul Newman and a group of corporate executives as the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy.
CECP formally supports the left-of-center corporate and investor-focused “Environmental, Social, and Governance” movement. The group’s first 2020 conference gave corporate leaders insights on how to sell left-of-center social and cultural policies as smart business decisions.
Founding and Early History
The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (the predecessor to CECP) was founded in 1999 by actor Paul Newman, who also started the Newman’s Own Foundation. Newman’s co-founders were Peter Malkin, former chairman of Empire State Realty Trust; David Rockefeller, then-chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank; and John C. Whitehead, former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs.  The original “standard of affiliation” for companies wishing to join CECP was a commitment to contribute “at least two percent of domestic profit to social progress.” 
One of the earliest major initiatives of CECP was to administer the South Asia Earthquake Relief Fund, which was formed by private philanthropies and the U.S. Agency for International Development in response to the 2004 “Boxing Day” earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people in 14 countries. In February 2006, the fund announced that it had raised more than $57 million in in-kind donations and more than $51 million in cash donations to charitable organizations such as the International Red Cross, Oxfam International, and UNICEF. 
CECP changed its name to Corporate Executives for Corporate Purpose in 2019. 
Mission and Activities
CECP currently has more than 200 member companies that together comprise $6.6 trillion in revenues, 14 million employees, and $15 trillion in assets under management.  Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose’s mission is to align greater business efficiencies with a focus on left-of-center cultural and public policy issues. The group provides a number of technical, interpersonal connection, and business services to its members. CECP’s members include, but are not limited to, major corporations like Altria, Kohl’s, and NASDAQ.
All of CECP’s services are provided with the explicit purpose of creating greater effectiveness for left-of-center political and cultural engagement by CECP’s clients. The group states that how a company “engages with key stakeholders including employees, communities, investors, and customers – determines company success.” Its services are designed to create more effective engagement through assessment of a company’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities relative to its desired social impact.
Both workforce diversity and environmentalist advocacy and policy have been major focus areas of CECP. In 2018, CECP released “Diversity & Inclusion in Corporate Social Engagement,” a report sponsored by the Walmart Foundation, laying out guidelines and strategies for expanding diversity programs in corporate settings. The report found that 95 percent of large corporations intended to expand diversity programming in the coming decade.  The group also collaborated with the Restore the Earth Foundation to develop guidelines for corporate members relating to reducing carbon emissions and other climate change strategies. 
CECP provides original research, consulting services, and networking opportunities for corporate executives, with the purpose of expanding corporate social responsibility programs and initiatives. CECP convenes annual meetings of CEOs to discuss corporate social responsibility and philanthropic initiatives, as well as meetings for corporate social responsibility officers and other corporate staff. CECP provides “fast-track consulting” for member corporations to develop or evaluate corporate social responsibility initiatives.  The group has also developed benchmarking tools to measure “corporate social engagement” and will create customized benchmarking and evaluation tools for corporate members.  CECP-developed evaluation tools are used in producing the group’s annual “Giving In Numbers” survey of corporate philanthropy. 
CECP sponsors the Strategic Investment Initiative, which encourages companies to include long-term “sustainability” priorities in their financial and strategic planning. These priorities include left-progressive social and environmental policy, especially climate change, carbon emission reduction, and reduction of fossil fuel usage. CECP encourages companies to include these as metrics in long-term planning along with traditional measures such as rate of investment, earnings quality, margin growth, and earnings growth. 
CECP was founded with a four-year, $1 million seed money grant from the Ford Foundation, one of the largest liberal grantmaking institutions. Other liberal foundations including Atlantic Philanthropies, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Pew Charitable Trusts were also early substantial supporters of CECP. 
Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose’s revenues totaled $5,359,000 in 2017, about $1.5 million more than its 2016 total of $3,864,000. Its expenses were $4,859,000 in 2016, leaving the organization with a loss of nearly $1 million that year. Its expenses in 2017 were higher than the previous year at $5,068,000, but with greater income CECP ended 2017 with $2.624 million in assets, nearly $300,000 more than in 2016. Over $2.1 million was raised in 2017 from member dues; CECP spent over $3 million on employee pay, benefits, pensions, payroll taxes, and related compensation costs.
Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose was founded by actor Paul Newman in 1999. He was on its board of directors until his death in 2008.
CEO and board secretary Daryl Brewster earned nearly $504,000 for his work leading CECP. In addition to non-profit work, Brewster previously worked for Kraft as president of the North American Snacks, Confections, Cereal, and Pet product lines. He was also CEO of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, guiding the company through a series of financial difficulties.
Managing Director of Corporate Leadership Barbara Short earned $247,297 in 2017. Short is no longer with CECP; her replacement, Kari Niedfeldt-Thomas, was executive director of social change group The Mosaic Company Foundation. Niedfeldt-Thomas has also been on a number of boards of directors for groups with environmentalist and social-change missions.