Wednesday, February 15, 2012

10 Most Generous Companies

News outlets like to report on a lot of bad news, much to the dismay of puppy-and-sunshine-loving optimists everywhere. We hear story after story about corporate greed and bonuses for the super-rich execs, but we often miss out on hearing what corporations and big companies are doing right. Many of them have great philanthropic values and compassionate hearts buried beneath all that money. These companies are examples of some of the most generous in the U.S., based on information collected by The Chronicle of Philanthropy using each business' giving totals for 2010 and profit data for 2009. They've made it part of their missions to give back to the communities they serve, a lesson companies and individuals everywhere should take to heart.

  1. Kroger

    You might get excited when you see the savings you get back by using a Kroger Plus card, but the company is also giving a huge percentage back to the community. Kroger gave $64 million to charity in 2010, which comes out as 10.9% of total profits. Their overall contribution may not be as much as some larger companies, but they're definitely sharing one of the biggest slices of their profit pie. Besides charitable donations, Kroger organizes fundraising so members of the community can also give and sponsors races that help fund cancer research.

  2. Walmart

    The retail giant known for rolling back prices has been a major player in the world of charitable donations. In terms of total dollars given, Walmart is one of the most generous, donating $319 million in 2010, the most recent data year. It may not be a huge chunk of their $22 billion 2009 profit, but there's no doubt it's helping immensely, especially since the company notes that they also donate food and other products that aren't reflected in the monetary calculation. Their 2011 contributions were probably just as impressive as the previous year, considering they gave away $1.5 million in cash during the holidays via Facebook alone.

  3. Macy's

    If you could count the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as a charitable donation to society, the department store might skyrocket to the top of any list on generosity. As it is, Macy's comes in among some of the top givers. In 2010, they donated $41 million, which was about 8.1% of their profits. Most gifts are given to organizations in Macy's core focus areas: arts and culture, education, environment, HIV/AIDS research, and women's issues. While the money is important, Macy's employees also gave upwards of 122,000 hours of their time to community service, which some might argue makes even more of an impact.

  4. Goldman Sachs

    Investment banking firm Goldman Sachs knows how to manage money, and for them, that includes giving a hefty amount to charity each year. In 2010, the company donated $312 million, and it gave around $500 million the year before. These huge chunks of change are focused on four areas: honoring service and veterans, helping communities, expanding educational opportunities, and encouraging growth in the economy. It's been reported recently that the company cut philanthropy in 2011 to $78 million for the year, but it's still a significant contribution.

  5. Pfizer

    Drug companies like pharmaceutical mammoth Pfizer have a unique opportunity to do good in people's lives. While they can make hefty cash donations to charities, they can also provide necessary drugs to people who don't have insurance or otherwise couldn't afford them. Though the company gave $69 million in monetary contributions in 2010, the real generosity came in the form of medicine like Lipitor and Celebrex. The total when you take the product donations into account: $3 billion. Other drug companies like Oracle and Merck also contributed significant amounts of their pharmaceuticals to the uninsured and underinsured.

  6. Safeway

    Safeway is another smaller grocery store that's making a big difference in the communities it serves. In 2010, the company gave 7.5% of its profits to charity, which totaled $76.5 million. In addition to this money, they say they gave $130 million worth of food to aid hunger relief programs. Safeway sends its donations and funds raised largely toward local schools, breast and prostate cancer research, and disaster relief when needed, like for aiding victims of the Haiti earthquake in 2010. The store also encourages volunteering among employees with company-sponsored volunteer activities and a website dedicated to linking workers with nonprofits.

  7. Dow Chemical Company

    The chemical company obviously does its fair share of giving, with $34 million in donations made in 2010. That's 7.3% of its total 2009 profits. This spirit of generosity seems to have rubbed off on Dow employees, as well. The heart of their altruism lies beyond the monetary contributions in the volunteer hours logged by workers. Employees help build homes, organize food drives, and encourage area students to pursue education and leadership roles, among other tasks depending on the needs of each branch's community.

  8. Bank of America

    One of the largest banks in the nation (and also one of the biggest companies in general) is also one of the most generous. Bank of America gave away $208 million in donations in 2010, a respectable 4.8% of their overall profits. Most donations take the form of grants to projects that are addressing pressing community needs. The bank also pushes employees to give their time to the less fortunate, supports community development with its Neighborhood Excellence Initiative, and provides its associates' expertise through its Philanthropic Solutions team.

  9. General Mills

    Even when a company has some very visible charitable projects, there are sometimes many more going on behind the scenes. Most of us know about General Mills' Box Tops for Education program, which allows people to clip box tops of General Mills' and the program's corporate partners' products to earn money toward their local school. But the company has also contributed to other programs throughout the world that you've probably never heard of, like providing water cellars so Chinese families can collect and store rainwater, contributing to a school in Thailand, and planting vegetables in Puerto Rico. These acts, as well as the $82 million the corporation donated in 2010, earned General Mills the 2010 President's Award from the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy.

  10. Target

    Target giving starts within the company. Talk to any Target worker and he'll tell you that the corporation offers generous benefits for all employees, on top of a great work environment. The employees are then encouraged to donate their time to community projects, adding up to hundreds of thousands of hours altogether each year. Target sponsors and supports several programs dealing with education, arts, social services, veteran support, and more. In 2010, the company's official number for charitable contributions was $146 million, which was 3.8% of their profits.

Taken From Business Insurance Quotes

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