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Keep Giving Back

In a struggling economy, entrepreneurs get creative with philanthropy.

This story appears in the October 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

As food prices soar, margins are thinning at Seattle-based Gourmondo Catering Co. But co-owner Alissa Leinonen Gallagher says the $2.5 million company won't reduce its charitable donations--around $10,000 in cash and $40,000 in food and labor in 2007--despite the leaner days. " isn't as strong, but we're profitable," says Leinonen Gallagher, 38, of the company she founded with Ron Johnson, 45, in 1996. "We need to continue supporting the causes of our clients."

That's savvy thinking, says Kris Putnam-Walkerly, a consultant. She says many cut back in a downturn, and that can be a mistake, as companies lose both the community goodwill and the value built up over the years. "It takes time and effort to determine your goals, find the organizations you want to support and rally employees," says Putnam-Walkerly. "It can take a while to build that back up if you have to start over two years later."

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