a graph showing a company doing well and a person putting change in a corporate philanthropy jar

What is Corporate Philanthropy?

It isn’t uncommon for an individual to be charitable, but companies can also practice philanthropy. Businesses donate billions of dollars every year through corporate philanthropy, and it’s become a hot-button topic. This overview could help you understand how and why a company would donate to charities. 

What is corporate philanthropy? 

Charities and nonprofit organizations constantly need money to support causes. Many people donate, but a lot of money comes from businesses. In 2014 alone, companies gave $17.8 billion to foundations—which was a 13.7% increase from the previous year. The number of nonprofit organization grows every year, so this amount is very substantially increasing. 

Many people use the words “charity” and “philanthropy,” interchangeably, but you may be surprised to know that they are two different things. Charity tends to be a short-term, emotional, immediate response focused primarily on rescue and relief. However, philanthropy is long-term and strategic and seeks to identify the root of the problem as well as find solutions. 

How do companies donate?

There are many ways a company can practice corporate philanthropy including monetary donations or gifts of time and talent. One of the most common ways businesses give is through matching gift programs. This is when a corporation matches the amount given by an employee. Some may double the donation while others will triple it. For example, if an employee donates $50 to a nonprofit organization, the employer may also give $150. 

Another method of corporate philanthropy is through volunteer grant programs. These programs encourage volunteerism while also donating money, although the company may not give right away. Volunteer grant programs usually grant a certain dollar amount per hour to an organization where employees volunteer, or it will donate after employees volunteer for a certain number of hours. 

What companies practice corporate philanthropy?

Companies all over America practice corporate philanthropy, but it isn’t only small businesses. Apple is a great example of a large corporation that gives. Over the last few years, Apple has donated a total of $50 million to charity through an employee matching program. The company also plans to expand the program to all countries in which it has a presence. Apple plans to begin donating money to charities where employees volunteer at a rate of $25 per hour. 

Google is already one of the top companies in America, so it may not be a huge surprise to learn that it’s also one of the largest contributors of corporate philanthropy. Google offers several community grants and programs to help charities all over the world. One of which is Code for America, which has supported the development of civic technology solutions in three focus areas: safety and justice, health and human services, and economic development. Since 2011, Code for America has provided over $4 million in funding.  

Finally, Microsoft is another company that encourages corporate philanthropy. Since 1983, Microsoft employees alone have managed to raise $17,000 for nonprofits. In 2015, Microsoft also raised $125 million for more than 18,000 nonprofit organizations and schools across the globe. That year also marked the fifth year in a row the company has raised more than $100 million for charities. 

Last Updated: December 12, 2018