The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual survey of corporate giving gathers data from the nation’s largest companies.
The newspaper sent questions to the 300 highest-ranking corporations on Fortune magazine’s list of top revenue-producing companies. The Chronicle’s analysis includes data for 112 companies that submitted their most recent information, plus figures reported on the informational tax returns filed by the foundations of 54 additional corporations. Companies must submit such tax forms to the Internal Revenue Service to report on the work of their foundations, but they are not required to make public anything else about their giving.
The Chronicle’s analysis is based on cash and product donations distributed in the United States and abroad. Cash totals include grants awarded by company foundations and money donated by the corporations themselves to charities in the United States.
Overall giving totals include cash gifts plus the fair market value of products the corporations donated. The figures do not include money that companies transfer to their foundations or the value of paid time off for employees who do volunteer work.
Because figures for some companies are based solely on the informational tax returns for their foundations, comparisons among the companies may be difficult.
It’s also not easy in some cases to compare figures of the same company from year to year because of changes in accounting methods, mergers, and other factors.
For instance, Yum Brands was able to provide figures for its total giving in 2011 but declined to provide older data, so The Chronicle relied on the company foundation’s tax forms. The totals from the previous years should not be compared with the figures reported for 2011.
Officials of Nike said the company is unable to exclude contributions to its foundation from outside sources, such as the NoVo Foundation, which provides money for Nike’s Girl Effect program to help young women.
A full list of companies that declined to complete the survey, a searchable database of company giving information, and an interactive look at the companies in the survey are available online.
The Chronicle’s survey of corporate giving was compiled by Noelle Barton, Emily Gipple, and Marisa López-Rivera, with assistance from Peter Bolton, Lauren Connors, and Star Jones.