Top Ten Most Generous & Philanthropic Companies in the World

Top Ten Most Generous & Philanthropic Companies in the World
Image by Noah_Loverbear via Wikimedia Commons | (CC BY-SA 3.0)

We live in a golden age of corporate philanthropic giving, with companies around the world donating huge sums of money to various charitable organizations and causes. Although some of these efforts have been criticized for coming with hidden strings attached or labeled as attempts at improving corporate image, the fact of the matter is that there is ultimately more dollars moving into philanthropy than ever before.

Check out the world’s top 10 most generous companies that are leading the charge in philanthropic giving (based on 2015 figures):

10. Citigroup

Cash Contributions: $142.8 million

Industry: Banking, Financial services

According to its foundation’s website, Citi Group’s philanthropic activities are aimed at fostering economic advancement and the improvement of the living conditions of communities in third world countries. This is achieved through initiatives that include: fostering of financial inclusion and the creation of career opportunities for youths. Recently, the financial services titan invested $50 million over a space of three years for the purpose of helping youths connect with job opportunities.

9. Google

Cash contributions: $167.8 million

Industry: ‎Internet; Computer software, Computer hardware

Google’s philanthropic initiatives focus largely on supporting organizations that develop groundbreaking and unconventional solutions to social problems. The company has been an active philanthropic force, donating $167.8 million in cash contributions to a number of causes around the world.

Google employees are also active in its philanthropic initiatives. In 2014, its employees gave $21 million in donations to more than 9,000 organizations across the globe. Its recent philanthropic initiatives include a $2.4 million grant given to a nonprofit organization that helps alleviate poverty by giving cash directly to the poor and a $1 million grant to an organization involved in criminal-justice reform.

8. Bank of America

Cash contributions: $168.5 million

Industry: Banking and Financial services

Bank of America occupies a unique position in the corporate philanthropy field as it serves as trustee or co-trustee for a diverse number of charitable foundations. As a result, the bank gives out grants in line with each donor’s philanthropic objective.

The bank is also actively involved in creating economic opportunities and proving for the basic needs of the less privileged. In 2014, it committed almost $50 million to the education of workers and spent $33 million on community development, feeding the hungry and emergency relief.

7. JPMorgan Chase

Cash contributions: $224 million

Industry: Financial Services

JP Morgan Chase adopts an unconventional approach to its corporate philanthropy by focusing on creating economic opportunities for people around the world. The financial services firm’s philanthropic activities are focused on supporting the development of new skills for workers, helping individuals build financial capability, supporting the growth of small businesses, and the development of its host communities. In 2016 alone the company gave above $200 million to nonprofit organizations scattered across the United States, the District of Columbia and in 40 countries.

6. Chevron

Cash contributions: $225 million

Industry: Oil and Gas

Unlike other top companies involved in corporate giving, not much is known about Chevron’s philanthropic activities. However, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, an authoritative source on corporate philanthropy, Chevron’s philanthropic activities was greatly affected by the fall in the oil price. As such, the oil and gas giant saw its donations fall by 7.2% in 2014 as a result of the oil crisis. The company’s charitable initiatives mostly center on the following areas: Women’s economic empowerment in Latin America, HIV/AIDS treatment in its host African countries, and STEM education for youth.

5. ExxonMobil

Cash contributions: $268 million

Industry: Oil and Gas

ExxonMobil is a leader of philanthropy in the oil and gas industry. The company saw its corporate giving rise by about 13% in 2015. The company’s philanthropic initiatives revolve around 3 core areas: STEM education (especially for women and girls), health, and biodiversity, and conservation. More specifically, its foundation actively supports math and science education, “women’s economic empowerment”, and is also committed to the eradication of malaria.

4. Goldman Sachs

Cash contributions: $276.4 million

Industry: Financial Services

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008, Goldman Sachs’s uninspiring philanthropic engagements experienced a turnaround with billions of dollars in donations channeled towards charitable causes. The financial services titan has since committed more than $1.6 billion to various philanthropic activities across the globe and is also in partnership with thousands of nonprofit organizations in 80 countries.

A clear example of its commitment to corporate giving was witnessed in 2015 when it committed 3% of its pre-tax profits to philanthropy, which is well above the average figure for Fortune 500 companies. Through its major initiatives, the 10,000 Women and 10,000 Small Businesses, Goldman Sachs has provided loans, business education, and support services to women entrepreneurs and small business owners across the globe.

3. Wells Fargo

Cash contributions: $281.3 million

Industry: Banking, Financial Services

Wells Fargo is leading the charge in the financial services industry as the company with the highest amount of funds donated towards philanthropic activities. In 2016, the bank had a goal of donating between 1.2 to 1.5% of its yearly revenue to philanthropy. The contributions were to be made through two different channels: a part was to be distributed in local communities where it operated and another was to be made on a national level. A vivid example of the company’s commitment to philanthropy is demonstrated in its donation of $25 million to NeighborWorks, a nonprofit organization for affordable housing options for the less privileged.

2. Walmart

Cash contributions: $301 million

Industry: Retail

Until recently, Walmart’s involvement in philanthropy was constantly called to question as a result of the small-sized donations made towards charitable causes, which were usually in its host communities. As a result, there was widespread advocacy by the general public for a more proactive stance towards corporate giving from the world’s number one retail giant. Walmart’s commitment to philanthropy, however, took a new turn following the appointment of Kathleen McLaughlin as the head of the company’s foundation in 2014.

As the company with the largest workforce in the world, Walmart has identified the development of worker skills and career readiness as a major focus of its philanthropic activities and has invested funds in this regard through its foundation. The company also moved to improve its workers’ welfare by increasing the minimum hourly pay from $9 to $10. Walmart’s fight against hunger has also seen the company make a donation of $61 billion to organizations actively involved in the fight.

1. Gilead Sciences

Cash contributions: $446.7 million

Industry: Pharmaceutics, Biotechnology

Gilead Sciences, a research-based biopharmaceutical company, is the leading public company actively involved in philanthropy. The California-based company has the highest cash contributions made towards philanthropic causes, with $446.7 million in cash contributions as at 2015. This is almost two-thirds more than the funds released the previous year, with the increase in contributions attributed to the company’s breakthrough in the Hepatitis C market. Most of its philanthropic grants have however been channeled towards its core research areas, notably HIV/AIDS and liver disease. Moreover, the company is also known to make cash contributions usually in response to funding request received from nonprofit organizations.