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Conference Board Says Corporate Contributions Holding Steady
Conference Board

December, 2008

Total corporate contributions in the U.S. and abroad (among 197 major corporations and corporate foundations) amounted to $10.97 billion in 2007, up slightly from $10.2 billion in 2006, The Conference Board reports today in its annual survey of corporate giving to worthy causes.

Total U.S. giving among 197 corporations polled was $8.62 billion in 2007, with a median contributions budget of $10.03 million.

For the overall survey sample, total international contributions held steady from 2006 to 2007 at $2.35 billion. The majority of international contributions were non-cash.

The vast majority (83.59 percent) of total 2007 contributions were made by companies with the largest giving budgets — budgets totaling $50 million or more.

Reflecting the increased global reach of business operations, international grantmaking is continuing to rise as a significant component in the giving programs of many large companies. Total overseas charitable contributions (as reported by 74 companies surveyed in both the 2006 and 2007 samples) reveals a 30.18 percent increase in international contributions, while median contributions for these same companies increased nearly 17 percent.

Health and Human Services Remains Top Beneficiary

Health and human services continued to lead as the top-ranking recipient of U.S. corporate support in 2007, as they have for five of the past six years. They also received the most support internationally. The share of U.S. contributions directed to this area rose 22 percent from 2006 to 59.28 percent.

U.S. giving to education remained about the same as the previous year at $1,459,743. Donations to culture and the arts rose from $337,277 to $366,942. In fact, with the exception of giving to the environment, which declined by 4.42 percent from 2006 to 2007, giving to all other beneficiary categories increased from the previous year.

Pharmaceutical Companies Still Top Donors

"Pharmaceutical companies continue to substantially outpace all other industry categories," says Carolyn Cavicchio, Senior Research Associate, The Conference Board Center for Corporate Citizenship & Sustainability. "But, in fact, in the majority of industries, the median contribution has gone up. The largest increases were in the financial, insurance, chemicals, and computers and technology industries."

For pharmaceutical companies, the median ratio of contributions to consolidated pretax income was 6.61 percent, compared to the overall .76 percent; the median ratio of contributions to worldwide sales was 1.65 percent, compared to the overall .09 percent; and median ratio of contributions per number of employees was $7,635 per employee, compared to the overall $542.

The survey also reports:

  • Projections for 2008 indicated very little increase in corporate giving.
  • Total contributions measured as a percent of worldwide sales have held steady at .09 percent since 2004.
  • The median contribution per employee amounted to $542, an increase of $93 per employee from 2006.
  • Pharmaceutical companies made the largest overall U.S. contributions (cash and non-cash) at $3.84 billion.
  • Banks were the largest U.S. cash contributors, at $714.09 million.
  • Pharmaceuticals led the industry categories as the largest non-cash givers with $3.23 billion.
  • U.S. contributions were closely divided between cash (45.77 percent) and non-cash (54.23 percent).
  • The majority of international contributions were non-cash (66.20 percent).
  • Among the top 50 international corporate donors in 2007, the top 5 companies each gave over $100 million. Four of the top five donors were pharmaceutical companies, whose giving was heavily driven by non-cash contributions.
  • The majority of international contributions - nearly 70 percent - were made from U.S. headquarters rather than local or regional business units.
  • The size of the company's workforce in the local market and humanitarian needs were the top drivers of international funding decisions.

The Conference Board 2007 survey of corporate contributions was conducted via e-mail between March and June 2008.

Read this report at

For further information contact:
Frank Tortorici
at (1) 212 339 0231.



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