Corporate giving strong in ‘05

Most American corporations increased their charitable contributions in 2005, driven in part by their employees’ desire to use matching-gift plans to respond to natural disasters, a new report says.

The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy analyzed the contributions of 103 companies, including four in 10 of the Fortune 100 companies, for its “Giving in Numbers: 2006 Edition.”

The median dollar value of corporate donations among the 66 companies for which the study collected year-to-year data grew 14.6 percent to $37.7 million in 2005, up from $32.9 million in 2004, and more than three in four of those companies reported increases in their giving, the report says.

Matching gifts, driven by employees’ contributions in response to multiple natural disasters, grew to 9.7 percent overall giving in 2005, up from 7.7 percent the year before.

The typical company gave almost half its donations in the form of cash, about a third in grants from their affiliated foundations and less than a quarter in non-cash contributions, the study says.

Manufacturing companies were more likely than services companies to give in-kind donations.

Corporations directed more than a third of their giving to health and social services organizations, the study says, while education received just under a quarter of all donations and the environment received about 3 percent of contributions, the least of any issue area.

Companies earning a large portion of their revenues from overseas directed a larger portion of their philanthropic dollars internationally, the study says.

Among companies with affiliated foundations, seven in 10 transferred money to their foundations in 2005, compared with six in 10 the year before, and the median value of funds transferred increased by 24 percent.

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