What Are We In For? A Look At This CEO's Emerging Philanthropy

Born in Little Rock in 1959, Charles Phillips is the current CEO of Infor, a business software provider. Phillips once served as president of Oracle Corporation and was managing director in the technology group at Morgan Stanley. Before his tech and business career, he served in the Marines. Phillips has a B.S. in computer science from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a JD from New York Law School, and an MBA from Hampton University.

It's unclear how much Phillips is currently worth, but he made around $30 million annually from 2008 to 2010 at Oracle. In 2010, Phillips also founded the Phillips Charitable Foundation, which he runs with his wife Karen. The foundation also lists several other team members, many of whom have military backgrounds like Phillips. Unsurprisingly, U.S. military service members have received support from this couple's young foundation—recent foundation grantees include United Service Organizations of Metropolitan Washington (USO-Metro), and the Wounded Warrior Project.

The Phillips Charitable Foundation describes itself as a "nonprofit foundation providing financial aid for single parents, students interested in engineering, and wounded veterans." Some of the foundation's grantees include East Harlem Tutorial Program, where the foundation has focused on engineering, Harlem Village Academies, United Negro College Fund, United States Air Force Academy Diversity Visitation Program, Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Foundation, and the Micro Learning Foundation (MLF), whose aim is to "change the face of education with a focus on helping young Black males."

Phillips is African-American, and his efforts to build diversity in business were discussed in an interesting piece about black male executives in Fortune recently. Phillips notes that his own company Infor has tried to change the way it recruits, drawing from a diverse selection of colleges, not just the usual suspects like Harvard or Yale: “We recruit, train, and place interns in divisions. Managers don’t know who they’re going to get. And it comes out of my budget, not theirs.” Phillips has an MBA from a historically black college. Given this background, it makes sense that some of the couple's grantmaking would focus on racial equity, too.

Phillips also has a fondness for jazz. One of his board memberships includes Jazz at Lincoln Center, though the Phillips Charitable Foundation does not appear to have funded that outfit lately, according to tax filings. Something else worth noting is that apart from the handful of organizations that the Phillips Foundation has bankrolled so far, many of the foundation's grantees are individuals. The foundation states that it is  "attempting to fill in a gap we saw in our community for quick and responsive financial aid for qualifying single parents, wounded veterans and engineering students that resolves urgent problems." To that end, the foundation has supported women like Kenisha Murray, a single mother juggling full-time work and school. Those interested in a Phillips grant should start by filling out the form here.

In a recent fiscal year, the foundation disbursed around $162,000. These are not overwhelming sums, but Phillips is still only in his 50s and very much engaged in business. Apart from the interest areas mentioned, Phillips and Karen have also supported National Toxic Encephalopathy Foundation, which "provides education and services to the growing segment of the population who are adversely affected by everyday chemicals and toxins in our environment," a topic recently in the news following revelations of the lead contamination of the water system in Flint, Michigan. It's unclear how these grants are connected to the couple's past giving, but perhaps environment and health are future areas for the foundation.