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Corporate giving rises

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Charitable donations by corporations rose again in 2006, topping a year marked by increased giving in response to a string of natural disasters around the world, a new report says.

Corporate giving grew 4.7 percent on average last year for the group of 89 companies reporting two consecutive years of data, and giving for the full study group of 113 companies reached a combined $10.6 billion, says the report by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy.

That rise occurred in the year following 2005, which was marked by sharp increases in corporate cash and in-kind giving in response to the Asian tsunami, the earthquake in Pakistan, the Gulf Coast hurricanes and other tragedies.

Slightly more than half the companies that reported data for the last two years gave more in 2006 than 2005, the report says, while slightly fewer than half scaled back their giving.

But 13 percent of those giving more reported increases of more than 30 percent, driving average giving higher overall.

Much of that increase was due to strong corporate profits and better tracking and measurement of both in-kind and cash donations.

For those giving less, the report attributes the decline to a drop in disaster-related giving and in the production of donated items, or a drop in the market value of those items.

Changes in Medicare policies also affected the in-kind donations of pharmaceutical companies, which represent a large portion of non-cash contributions.

International giving grew in 2006, the report says, with companies on average directing 13.5 percent of their donations to charities overseas in 2006, compared to 10 percent in 2005.

Additional data from the group’s analysis will be released this fall.

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