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Large corporations in survey gave $7.6 billion last year

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A group of 71 corporations gave a total of $7.56 billion to charity in 2004, a new survey says.

The study, conducted by the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy in New York, analyzed cash and non-cash giving by corporations and corporate foundations.

Almost three-quarters of charitable giving came in the form of cash grants, the survey says, with the remainder made up of in-kind and volunteer contributions.

Median giving as a percentage of pre-tax profit rose to 1.3 percent last year from 1.1 percent in 2003, the survey says, while median giving for companies surveyed was $31.79 million in 2004, down from $35.72 million the year before.

Giving per employee fell to $633 in 2004 from $724 the previous year, the survey says, with corporate matching funds of employee gifts accounting for 7.5 percent of total giving.

Health and socials services and education were the most highly funded program areas, and 56 companies gave a total of $198.7 million to tsunami relief efforts last year.

Eight in 10 companies surveyed have domestic volunteer programs, and more than four in 10 have international programs.

Companies surveyed say almost half their giving is charitable, meaning they expect no return benefit, while more than one-third is strategic, with the remainder considered commercial.

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