10 Biggest Givers in the Corporate World
by Kristy Ramirez
When it comes to corporate philanthropy, there have been a lot of complaints from the workforces in this country that the highest income earners and corporations aren’t paying their fair share, so to speak. Especially in an unsettled economic climate; are businesses still donating to charities and other philanthropic organisations despite the drop in their overall profit margins? Luckily, the statistics prove that yes, millions- even billions- of dollars are still being given away by community-conscious corporations all over the world each year.
The following is a list of ten companies that really know how to give. The first seven are globalised companies, while the final three slots are focused on domestic companies- banks- that know better than anyone where their excess profits should go: right back into their communities.
Despite its glaringly low prices in stores, Walmart is the biggest philanthropic company in the world. Last year, at a time where most corporations were scaling back on their donations to needy organisations, Walmart took their giving a step further and donated over $500 million worldwide. They primarily focused on fighting hunger through donations of cash as well as supplies from their store chains. This includes over 127 million pounds (US measurement standards) of food and safe drinks. Not to mention the 90,000+ bottles of fresh water, 27,000 tents, 23,000 blankets and 20,000 units of medical supplies donated to victims of the earthquake in Haiti. These are just a few examples of Walmart’s philanthropic ventures, topping out our list of companies that know how to give.
Everyone knows that billionaire computer mogul Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, give away millions of dollars from their own personal fortune each year, but what about his company? With over $113 million in cash and technology donations in 2009 and millions more in 2010, it’s safe to say that Microsoft is just as philanthropic as its founder. Each year, Microsoft donates millions of dollars to not only improve the quality of technology in classrooms all over the world, but it also provides funding for technological support and gives out free software.
AT&T is one of the most philanthropic corporations in the world, near Walmart in terms of giving numbers. Last year, AT&T gave over $148 million to charitable organisations. AT&T primarily focuses on schools and student-based giving, with donations ranging from technological improvements to grants for new classroom equipment and even scholarships for academically successful university students. Not only that, but AT&T also financially supports an emergency telecommunications organisation, Télécoms Sans Frontières to the tune of several hundred thousands of dollars per year.
Like Walmart, Target is an international superstore chain with a giving record as big as its inventory. A whopping 5% of Target’s income goes directly to charities. How many other companies can claim to give away that much to non-profits? Very few, indeed. By 2015, Target hopes to have given over $1 billion away to primarily educational foundations across the globe, with a heavy emphasis placed on books and reading programs.
To date, the Coca-Cola Foundation has given over $355 million to charity. Their focuses lie in global sustainability- reducing water wastage and increasing recycling worldwide- but they also have several educational grants and scholarships available. They also support HIV/AIDS preventative programs and supplies in impoverished nations in Africa and South America.
Boeing’s CEO, Jim McNerney, believes in the power of community support. As such, he not only volunteers in various non-profits along with several other executives in the company, but financially, Boeing has donated over $100 million to date. It extends its giving all over the world, from health and human services (such as building wells and constructing pumps) in Africa to educational programs for girls in the Middle East, to providing funding for Australia’s Learning for Life program.
As a global coffee company, Starbucks wouldn’t be where it is today without the help of the members of its community. Each year, Starbucks donates over $12 million for various educational grants and youth programs to boost participation and volunteering in their customers’ communities. Current goals include: contributing over one million hours of community service by 2015 and engaging over 50,000 young people to actively get involved in the development and improvement of their communities.
So we can see from the above, there are a lot of global corporations with giving hearts, but what about Australian philanthropy? They may not have millions of dollars to give away, but they are still making a difference in the lives of countless Australians each year.
Commonwealth Bank Staff Community Fund
In 2011, the Commonwealth Bank Staff Community Fund had $650,000 available for grants to those organisations that applied. Grant amounts can range all the way up to $10,000. Past grant recipients have been organisations that help children with developmental disabilities and schools looking to help the environment from the classroom.
National Australian Bank
As one of the most consistently-ranked “Most Ethical Companies” in the world, NAB Group is also quite charitable. This past year alone, they have donated millions of dollars for disaster relief victims in Australia and last year they donated millions of dollars in educational funding to help schools and university funding for students.
The Westpac Foundation
Another “Most Ethical Companies” award recipient, the Westpac Foundation has donated over $20 million for 136 programs and charitable organisations since the foundation’s inception. The primary focus of the foundation is social improvement in disadvantaged communities.
As we can see, even in a world where the world economy is crumbling, there are still several organisations going beyond the call of duty to continue offering financial support for their communities. Whether they’re worldwide or domestic, many corporations are big givers and have even higher expectations for the next fiscal year.
Kristy Ramirez is a debt free and frugal personal finance writer for Life Insurance Finder where she helps people to compare life insurance quotes and select the best policy to meet their needs at the best possible price.