​​Yesterday’s Passion Creates​​ Today’s Identity​​
Almost 60 years ago, George Weissman, a Vice President at Philip Morris, excitedly sat in his company’s boardroom.​
He’d had hundreds of conversations with the senior executives in his career, but this request was different. After a few preliminary agenda items, Weissman confidently presented a plan to the Board. He wanted to give away some of Philip Morris’ money to local non-profits.​​

​Investing in Communities​​

Every year our companies donate millions of dollars in cash and in-kind contributions to hundreds of non-profit organizations. Our goal is to help find long-lasting solutions to the challenges facing our communities.​


Learn More about our focus areas and the progress we have made.​​​

From the Begin​ning​
Having grown up in New York, Weissman was passionate about helping his city. He was raised listening to his parents play opera records on the family Victrola, and he developed a deep love for the arts. As he advanced in his career, he began to consider the impact that corporations could have on society and began to champion corporate giving. In the early 20th ce​ntury, corporate giving was not a part of American business culture, but Weissman had a vision and pursued it.
​Following Weissman’s presentation to the Board that day in 1958, Philip Morris made its first corporate contribution to the arts by offering “Philip Morris Festival of the Stars”. This free outdoor concert in Louisville, Ky., marked the beginning of what is now the company’s legacy of supporting arts to create vibrant communities. After becoming President of Philip Morris in 1966, Weissman accelerated the company’s giving.
In 1990, while reflecting on his time at Philip Morris, he said, “We wanted to demonstrate to our own employees that we were an open-minded company seeking creativity in all aspects of our business. And we were determined to do this by sponsoring things that made a difference…” For Philip Morris, art made a difference. Weissman’s social consciousness planted the seed for a giving philosophy that has grown to become a core part of who we are.​
“We wanted to demonstrate to our own employees that we were an open-minded
company seeking creativity in all aspects of our business. And we were determined
to do this by sponsoring things that made a difference...”
George Weissman                         

Continuing the Tradition​
Just as Weissman had set out to make a difference, decades later in the 1990s, so did our CEO and Chairman, Geoff Bible. Bible was troubled by a news story about a young woman who had fallen victim to domestic violence and didn’t know where to turn. At the time, domestic violence was a shadowy issue that many people weren’t comfortable discussing. Bible knew Philip Morris could make a difference.
Recognizing the need to address the problem, Philip Morris gave a grant to the National Domestic Violence Hotline to help them advertise their services. After the sponsorship, the number of calls skyrocketed, overwhelming the hotline. Philip Morris again stepped in and encouraged other companies to follow.
The desire to make a difference didn’t stop with the CEO. A 2000 Philip Morris website dedicated to contributions noted, “There is a strong spirit of volunteerism among Philip Morris employees all over the world. From senior management to the newest hires, our employees have been so moved by this issue that they have given their own time to help refurbish battered women’s shelters and donated their own money to support domestic violence service agencies…” The spirit of giving was alive in every corner and level of our organization.​
Since 2001, ACECF​ has given
2,113​ grants to non-profit
organizations totaling
$53.5​ million.
Employees Take the Wheel​
​While Philip Morris was creating a legacy of giving to important causes, its employees were also donating generously to a company-sponsored United Way campaign. But in the 1990s, they decided to make a bigger impact with their own dollars. Throughout Philip Morris’ locations, employees began combining their donations and giving to causes they felt could make the biggest impact in their communities. Their passion gave rise to the Philip Morris Employee Fund in New York and the Philip Morris Employee Community Fund in Richmond, now known as Altria Companies Employee Community Fund (ACECF). This fund put employees in the driver’s seat, banding together to play a more active role in giving and in tirelessly evaluating and selecting non-profits to support. Our employees embraced it. 

Today ACECF is one of the few employee-driven workplace-giving programs in America. Employees still manage the fundraising and select focus areas and recipients. Since 2001, ACECF has awarded more than 2,113 grants totaling $53.5 million to non-profit organizations.
Who We are Today
Investing in communities is deeply rooted in our culture and business. It’s one of our Mission​ Goals. Our giving today builds on our rich history and focuses on important business issues like underage tobacco prevention and protecting the environment. The power of our giving is not only financial. Our employees follow in the steps of their predecessors by giving their time and service. In 2016, our employees spent 45,000 hours volunteering in their communities and 95 percent of our executives served on on-profit boards. Our company is f​illed with community-minded employees who are proud to be a part of our legacy of giving.

In the 1950s, George Weissman set out to make a difference. His passion set the stage for decades of service to the community, building a legacy that is a core part of who we are and what we value. Our executives champion it, our employees embrace it and our communities appreciate it.
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