Corporate philanthropy can consist of funding non-profits, sponsoring community initiatives and supporting social causes intended to make the world a better place.
While this is a fairly common practice today, there are some organizations that are far more committed to their philanthropic efforts than others. From grants to in-kind donations and monetary pledges, there are numerous corporate philanthropy examples that have been set out by these companies.
Are you interested in finding out more? Take a look at our list of the most charitable companies in the world.
TOMS is dedicated to bringing positive change.
As a Certified B Corp, the company values transparency and accountability and has taken major steps to help those in need with every product purchase. In fact, TOMS donates one-third of their profits to grassroot organizations and non-profits in a bid to drive change from the ground up. The company invests in three key areas: promoting mental health, ending gun violence and increasing access to opportunity.
TOMS, in collaboration with Save the Children, also donates one pair of shoes for every pair that is purchased, and has donated nearly 1 million pairs of shoes since 2011.
Over the years, the company’s Build-A-Bear Foundation has formed numerous charitable partnerships, and has donated over $50 million in grants to support local charities and organizations. Build-A-Bear also makes in-kind donations, having given 65,000 teddy bears since 2016 to children’s charities.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company donated over 120,000 protective masks to healthcare workers and donated funds to several organizations, including the St. Louis Community Foundation, the Columbus Foundation, the American Red Cross, and Baby2Baby to support their COVID-19 relief efforts.
Moreover, the company encourages its associates to give back to their communities by offering paid time off for them to participate in volunteering initiatives.
Between 2015 and 2019, the Nike Community Impact Fund (NCIF) has invested over $400 million in a bid to support organizations that uplift communities and address issues related to education, leadership development, coaching, youth empowerment and mentorship.
Nike’s Made to Play global initiative is another commendable programme that is committed to getting more kids to be active. To achieve this, Nike works with local partners to increase girls' participation in sports and train more coaches — particularly in marginalized communities.
During the fiscal year 2020, the company invested over $23.2 million in this initiative and over $89.8 million in initiatives under its impact portfolio.
4. Free People
Free People has formed numerous partnerships with non-profit and non-governmental organizations.
- Girls Inc. — Donating 1% of all their activewear proceeds, having surpassed $1 million in donations in the past five years.
- Philabundance — Over 1,600 meals donated to Philadelphia-based families in need at the start of COVID-19.
- Best Friends Animal Society: Donated over $180,000 in the last three years and provided their dog shampoo product to all Best Friends Animal Society’s lifesaving centers.
The popular retail company has also focused its efforts on community impact by committing to $100,000 in donations in 2020 to the National Park Foundation (NPF) in an effort to restore and preserve America’s National Parks. Free People also donate $0.10 from every transaction to the National Park Foundation when their customers skip or reuse a cloth FP shopping bag in store.
When it comes to social responsibility, ThriftBooks focuses on three tenets: charitable support, literacy and environmental impact.
Over the last decade, they have provided over $100 million to their charity partners by purchasing reading materials. ThriftBooks also works with non-profits to organize international literacy programs and provides help to underserved communities, either through book donations or volunteering.
Meanwhile, books and other materials that cannot be donated to charity are sent to recycling plants, where each ton of 100% post-consumer copy paper saves 24 trees, 7,000 gallons of water and 4,100 kilowatts of electricity, as well as 60 pounds of air pollution.
This adventure gear and apparel company has a lot to show for when it comes to their philanthropic and humanitarian work.
As a certified B Corp, its main mission is to alleviate poverty globally. To achieve this, Cotopaxi allocates 1% of its annual revenues to the Cotopaxi Foundation which directs grants to selected non-profits including:
- International Rescue Committee
- Fundación Escuela Nueva
- UN Foundation - Nothing But Nets
- Mercy Corps
Cotopaxi is also devoted to ethical manufacturing and sustainability and is Climate Neutral Certified.
7. Ben & Jerry’s
The famous ice-cream company has placed a big emphasis on social movements since its founding in 1978. From climate justice to refugee rights to LGBTQ+ rights, Ben & Jerry’s has supported important initiatives that drive for progressive systemic social change. It is also a certified B Corp.
The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, specifically, supports communities in Vermont, where the company is based but also offers a national grant program that aims to support grassroot organizations and movements around the US. Up to date, the foundation has donated over $50 million. Moreover, the company has also pledged 7.5% of its annual profits as a donation to its foundation.
The multinational tech company focuses its charitable efforts to help local, national and global communities. Its Google Dot Org foundation donates over $100 million in grants, $1 billion in products and 80,000 volunteer hours each year.
Moreover, the company also provides seed funding to ambitious entrepreneurs based in developing countries as well as grants and disaster relief to help global communities.
Google Ad Grants is another initiative by Google to help non-profit organizations by boosting traffic to their websites.
It’s also worth mentioning that Google has a match program, where it matches between $50 to $12,000 in donations per employee each year, but also matches money employees personally raise for charitable events.
9. The Walt Disney Company
Disney has a long-standing commitment to strengthening communities and helping families and children in need.
In 2021, Disney’s charitable giving reached $294 million in support of underrepresented communities, conservation efforts and underprivileged children and families.
Since 1980, Disney has worked with the Make-A-Wish foundation to grant over 145,000 wishes of critically ill children. The company has also had numerous initiatives such as the “Share Your Ears Campaign” to raise funds and support Make-A-Wish organizations even further.
Additionally, the company also makes several in-kind donations, offering Disney World tickets to non-profits to support fundraising efforts, donor incentives and competitions but also donating books for children via First Book, a non-profit organization. In fact, in 2020 Disney celebrated its donation of its 75th millionth book during their annual Magic of Storytelling campaign.
Through The Starbucks Foundation, the coffeehouse giant supports local, national and global communities by providing grants to non-profit organizations. From youth empowerment to inclusion to hunger relief and economic opportunity, Starbucks supports initiatives around the world.
It’s four main initiatives include:
Neighborhood grants: Encouraging partner organizations can nominate a local non-profit organization to receive investments in their volunteer activities.
Disaster response: Supporting initiatives that are assisting individuals in emergency situations and communities dealing with disasters. In 2020, Starbucks donated $100,000 to disaster relief efforts in Lebanon and over $9 million in response to COVID-19.
International giving: Investing in global initiatives that respond to issues within local communities to provide aid and support.
Origin grants: Aiding tea- and coffee-growing communities, especially those providing assistance to women and girls. Starbucks has committed to investing in 250,000 women and girls by 2025.
In 2022, The Starbucks Foundation also announced that it would invest $30 million by 2030 to the Global Community Impact Grants initiative. The aim of this new initiative is to foster positive change within the communities where Starbucks operates globally.
Microsoft’s philanthropic work is multifaceted.
As of 2021, the tech giant has donated over $410 million in cash, technology and resources aimed at supporting COVID-19 response efforts. Microsoft also allocated $510 million of its $750 million affordable housing commitment during the same year, helping create over 7,500 housing units near its Washington headquarters, and also offered $43 million in funding through Microsoft TechSpark.
Additionally, over $2.5 billion in donated or discounted technology was given to non-profit organizations across the world, while Microsoft employees donated over $214 million to charities, with the company matching each donation.
Mainly, Patagonia offers grants that can range from $5,000 to $20,000 to grassroot organizations that are focused on addressing the environmental crisis. In total, the company has donated over $89 million in cash and in-kind. Patagonia has also pledged 1% of all its sales to the preservation and restoration of natural environments and its founder, Yvon Chouinard, along with Craig Mathews, created 1% for the Planet — a non-profit — to encourage other businesses to follow suit.
13. Goldman Sachs
Through the Goldman Sachs Gives initiative, the multinational investment banking giant has given over $2 billion in grants to support communities, small businesses, and innovative ideas. As a public charity, the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund also distributes charitable donations to various causes at the direct request of donors.
In 2022, as part of its “One Million Black Women” project, which seeks to improve the lives of at least a million Black women by 2030, the Goldman Sachs Foundation announced that it would donate up to $250,000 to 50 non-profits led by Black women.
14. Gilead Sciences
Through the Gilead Foundation, the biopharma giant supports local communities, non-profit organizations and social initiatives. In 2021 and 2022, the company committed $200 million and $85 million, respectively, to support these causes. The foundation also matches employees’ donations and contributions to eligible organizations through its “Giving Together” program.
Furthermore, in 2022, Gilead Sciences was named the top philanthropic funder of HIV programs by Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) following its $100 million pledge. FCAA also ranked Gilead Sciences first in other categories, such as corporate funding, COVID-19 funding, and funding of Black, Indigenous and people of color communities in the US.
15. The Coca-Cola Company
Through the Coca-Cola Foundation, the leading beverage company has managed to award over $1 billion in grants to support sustainable community initiatives across the globe. In fact, in 2021, Coca-Cola invested 2% of its operating income back into local communities, surpassing the company’s annual goal of 1%.
Amongst its charitable initiatives, Coca-Cola has offered entrepreneurial skills-based education and training to 1.2 million women, helping to lift them out of poverty, created access to clean water for over 32 million people across the world, supported communities after natural and man-made disasters and educated over 10,000 first-generation college students.
These companies have set out a clear example of what corporate philanthropy should look like.
Of course, their philanthropy is mutually beneficial, as it also grants them good publicity, but it’s undeniable that their commitment to charitable causes, grassroot organizations and community support has brought on positive change on a large scale.
Which of these philanthropic companies are you impressed with the most? Let us know in the comments section below!
This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 16 July 2018.