Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tracking Big Corporate Donors

A majority of companies said they expect their charitable donations in 2010 to be about the same as in 2009 — a year in which cash giving fell by 7.5%. Of the 102 firms that answered the question, 73% predicted a flat 2010.

Sixty-eight companies decreased their cash giving in 2009 to $3.9 billion, the first time since 2003 that cash contributions from businesses in The Chronicle's survey have dropped. Fifty-four percent of businesses gave less cash, 30% gave more, and 16% gave roughly the same. But donations of cash and products increased by nearly 5% last year, as companies sought to compensate for the decline in cash by offering other types of assistance.

The biggest cash contributor was Wal-Mart, the largest company in the U.S. It gave $288.1 million in 2009. (The discount-store chain stepped up its commitment to charity even more in May, when it announced a $2 billion, five-year pledge to fight hunger.) AT&T was No. 2, donating $240 million, and Bank of America was No. 3, giving $209.1 million.

The top donors of cash and products were Pfizer, in New York ($2.3 billion); Oracle, in Redwood Shores, Calif. ($2.1 billion); and Merck, in Whitehouse Station, N.J. ($923.2 million).

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