The 13 Most Philanthropic Companies in the World

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If you’ve ever felt like your employers underpay you for the toil and effort you go to every day, then consider for a moment that, actually, they may not be as stingy as you might think. This is because many large companies commit heavily to the practice of corporate philanthropy, whereby they freely give money to a range of charities and causes.

Of course, this dedication to social responsibility is mutually beneficial; the company gets good publicity for their donations, while funding goes to the people and places that need it most. But some organisations are more noted for their various programmes and contributions than others. To give you an idea, we’ve compiled a list of some of the biggest and most consistent givers.

So, if you want to work for an employer that has a strong sense of social accountability, read on: these are the most charitable companies in the world…

13. Coca-Cola

Total cash donation in 2015: $117.3 million (£87.5 million)

Having established a purpose-built company foundation in 1984, the global soft drinks giant claims to have given back more than $820 million (£611.6 million) since. This is supported by its pledge to donate 1% of its previous year’s operating income each year.

In terms of where the money actually goes, Coca-Cola lists three areas of priority. These are the economic empowerment and entrepreneurial development of women; the education and youth development of local communities across the globe; and, finally, access to and the conservation of clean drinking water in deprived areas.

12. Merck

Total cash donation in 2015: $132.5 million (£98.8 million)

Pharmaceuticals firm Merck is consistently active in their philanthropic endeavours, particularly in the fields of science, education and environmental sustainability. The company heavily funds research into disease management, for instance, as well as provides numerous scholarship opportunities and STEM development programmes within the education system.

Merck also provides donations in lieu of cash, such as providing water filtration devices to areas affected by natural disasters like Thailand and the Philippines, while also matching individual employee contributions up to $1,000 (£745) per year.

11. Citigroup

Total cash donation in 2015: $142.8 million (£106.5 million)

With the enormous swathes of money circulating throughout the investment banking sector, it’s little surprise that many large financial institutions give generously to charity. Citigroup is no exception, with the New York-based firm focusing especially on economic opportunities for young people, as well as urban transformation projects that create additional opportunities for low-income workers.

Citigroup actively encourages volunteer participation amongst its workforce, too, particularly within its signature Pathways to Progress programme where staff work with young people in urban areas to develop key employability skills.

10. Alphabet

Total cash donation in 2015: $167.8 million (£125.1 million)

As you would expect from such a progressive organisation, Alphabet – Google’s holding company – is at the forefront of corporate philanthropy. They established in 2005 to aid external non-profits through cash donations and the use of Google’s many cutting-edge technologies, utilising data and research to align with the most suitable partners.

This sense of efficiency is present at the ground level, too, with employee volunteer opportunities matched to the individual’s skillset; Google also matches personal contributions, having done so to the tune of $50 million (£37.3 million) in the last decade.

9. Bank of America

Total cash donation in 2015: $168.5 million (£125.7 million)

Bank of America has initiated two signature development programmes within the last 10 years, claiming to have invested over $200 million (£149.2 million) during that time. These programmes are targeted at arming external non-profits with the tools they need to build community projects, as well as offering internships and development opportunities to promising high school students.

8. Microsoft

Total cash donation in 2017: $169 million (£126 million)

Under the guidance of Bill Gates – one of the world’s most prominent philanthropists – Microsoft has sought to set itself apart from the crowd with its charitable giving; Microsoft Philanthropies was established in 2015 to build on this legacy, with jaw-dropping results so far.

Although $169 million in cash was donated by the company itself, Microsoft’s employees also raised $149 million (£111.1 million) in matched individual donations in 2017. The company also gave well over $1.2 billion (£895.1 million) worth of free software and hardware to various non-profits during this time. It’s not just about the fiscal figures, either; staff gave up nearly 700,000 hours of their own time to work on projects, following the illustrious example set by their legendary co-founder.

7. Chevron

Total cash donation in 2015: $168.5 million (£125.7 million)

As a major global oil and energy conglomerate, Chevron’s reputation is of vital importance for investors. One of the ways in which they, therefore, seek to maintain a positive image is by donating heavily to various charitable causes.

Primarily, this takes the shape of supporting economic development in the areas in which it drills, such as the west coast of Africa. Closer to home, Chevron is active in pushing STEM development opportunities within the education sector. According to Forbes, the oil giant also donates to the Clinton Foundation, as well as pursues economic empowerment for women in Latin America.

6. JPMorgan Chase

Total cash donation in 2017: $250 million (£186.5 million)

Having established its own dedicated trust, JPMorgan Chase has been hugely proactive in donating money in recent years; in 2017, this sum reached $250 million, with a commitment to invest $1.75 billion (£1.35 billion) overall by 2023.

If you want to get your hands on some of that money, then the firm currently prioritises donation requests within four specialist sectors: jobs and skills, small business expansion, financial health, and neighbourhood revitalisation.

5. ExxonMobil

Total cash donation in 2015: $168.5 million (£125.7 million)

With a culture of giving that stretches as far back as the 1950s, the ExxonMobil Foundation – rebranded in 2000 – has targeted a variety of areas in which it donates significantly. Currently, this includes the development of STEM education programmes, women’s economic initiatives and, increasingly, funding into the research of malaria.

4. Goldman Sachs

Total cash donation in 2015: $168.5 million (£125.7 million)

Through its internal foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, the New York-based investment giant claims to have provided a total of $1.25 billion (£932.4 million) in grants since its inception, partnering on projects with thousands of organisations including the United Nations.

Most recently, this has seen the bank donate heavily to those affected by the Syrian refugee crisis, although the majority of funding destinations are recommended by a dedicated board of current and retired senior employees.

3. Wells Fargo

Total cash donation in 2017: $286.5 million (£213.7 million)

In support with its sister organisation, the Wells Fargo Foundation, the financial services provider is fully committed to its philanthropic contribution. The company focuses on funding non-profit organisations that are aligned with its own values, specifically in the social, economic and environmental sectors.

Aside from donating monetary funds, Wells Fargo also offers a willing workforce of volunteers, as well as the pro bono provision of its own services.

2. Walmart

Total cash donation in 2015: $301 million (£224.5 million)

With a staggering annual revenue of $500 billion (£373 billion), Walmart can afford to be generous; therefore, their position as the second most charitable business on this list is not entirely unsurprising.

As with most other large corporations, the main thrust of their philanthropy is focused towards economic development, environmental sustainability and the advancement of communities through construction and engagement projects. Their 2.3 million employees are also active, having contributed well over a million hours of their own time in 2016.

1. Gilead Sciences

Total cash donation in 2015: $446.7 million (£333.2 million)

Few companies are as socially conscious or prolific as pharmaceutical giant Gilead. Trough their foundation, they are responsible for the funding of numerous national and international public health campaigns (especially HIV and Hepatitis awareness and prevention), as well as working closely with non-profits and medical professionals in areas where their products are more difficult to access.

This commitment to widening access to treatment, providing training programmes to health workers and working towards bridging socioeconomic healthcare barriers shows no signs of abating, either, with the company’s work impacting on lives all over the globe.

As you can see, there is more to being a major multinational conglomerate than reaping in profits. Social responsibility is increasingly becoming a vital recruitment and retention tool, too, with more and more workers keen for their employers to give something back.

Does your company engage in philanthropic pursuits? Let us know in the comments below…


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