Corporate giving inches up in ‘07

In the year before the recession settled in, giving by a subset of major U.S. corporations grew slightly, with most of their funds directed to health and human-services activities, a new report says.

In 2007, 197 corporations and corporate foundations donated a total of $10.97 billion to charity, up from $10.2 billion in 2006, says the 2008 Corporate Contributions Report published by the Conference Board.

More than $8.6 billion of the total benefitted programs in the U.S., while over $2.3 billion went to international efforts.

The majority of international contributions were in-kind donations.

Almost six in 10 dollars awarded by corporations in 2007 benefited health and human-services groups, up 22 percent over 2006, the report says.

Giving to almost all other areas increased as well.

Education funding was flat, while giving to the environment fell 4.4 percent from 2006 to 2007.

Pharmaceutical companies again topped the list of corporate givers, donating a total of $3.84 billion to charity.

Banks gave more than $714 million in cash, more than any other industry, while drug companies led in-kind contributions with $3.23 billion.

On average, pharmaceutical companies far outpaced other industries in terms of the share of pre-tax profits donated.

In 2007, the median ratio of drug companies’ donations to pre-tax income was 6.61 percent, compared to 0.76 percent for corporations overall.

The Conference Board expects to see very little increase in corporate giving from 2007 to 2008.

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