Corporate philanthropy is philanthropic action performed by a corporation. Philanthropy, in general, refers to gifting money to charity organizations and non-profit organizations for the betterment of society and mankind. A single individual who gives vast sums of money in such a fashion is known as a philanthropist. A corporation may perform corporate philanthropy to much the same end.
Corporate philanthropy is often seen by outsiders as an act which is not without additional motivation, as corporate philanthropy can be seen as an attempt to increase a positive view of the company, thereby facilitating the development of corporate relations. Corporate relations, in this sense, simply refers to relationships between corporations and other entities.
Corporate relations between a charity and a corporation performing corporate philanthropy would form as a matter of course in the act of corporate philanthropy, for example. But because corporate philanthropy will likely improve the public perspective on the philanthropic corporation, it is likely that that corporation will then have an easier time setting up corporate relations with other legal entities.
This is a relatively cynical view of corporate philanthropy, however, as it is entirely possible that a corporation would perform acts of corporate philanthropy because those acts are genuinely positive in nature and not for any of the other effects upon corporate relations or public perception of the company in question.
Corporate philanthropy is often the result of advice by the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy, which is an organization in New York City which contains influential CEOs and chairpersons, and which attempts to lead corporations in acts of corporate philanthropy.