Yesterday I was invited at the last minute to be a panelist on a HuffPost Live discussion on charity galas. Morgan Justice-Black and Steve Soboroff were the other panelists and we had 18 minutes of fun banter about the role of galas in charity fundraising. Champagne charity to some may come across as a crass and vapid time suck, but it has a role in both fundraising and networking.

Many critics are quick to lash out at philanthropy while forgetting the role it had in building a strong America. And while it is easy to be cynical about companies writing checks for good causes, the stubborn fact persists that businesses have an opportunity to fill a void where other institutions are falling short. My Triple Pundit article just out today, in fact, discusses how businesses are becoming far more socially responsible for ethical and business reasons. New business ideas that incorporate ideas such as the one-for-one model are also changing the way we give a hand up to folks less fortunate than us. Corporate social responsibility is no longer an exercise in public relations: in fact, such an agenda can engage employees and benefit communities in a very positive way.

And Mr. Soboroff, whose son, Jacob, by the way moderated the panel, brought up a great point: being poor, being hungry, not having health care . . . all “suck.” Philanthropy and charity are not the end-all and be-all of corporate giving. But it still has a strong role in our society. Sure, there could be an agenda, but few of us do good for purely altruistic reasons.

I cannot embed the discussion, but please click here and watch the 18 minute discussion. Share your thoughts with me on Twitter.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.