Barron's Most Philanthropic Companies


In its January 1st, 2007 issue the financial weekly had a fascinating article on the relationship between a companies philanthropic contributions and its future profits. In it they sited a study by Professor Baruch Lev of NYU’s Stern School which concluded that if viewed the same way an investment is, every dollar given to charity by a company resulted in a 200% to 300% return in profits. To quote the article:

“That corporate charity has the potential to boost a company's bottom line makes perfect sense. Think of McGraw-Hill supporting literacy programs, Coca-Cola funding Olympic teams, or Avon Products sponsoring its "Breast Cancer Crusade." Activities like these, especially if well-promoted, might help keep the loyalty of present customers, while attracting new ones. Not surprisingly, according to two different surveys cited by Lev, Petrovits and Radhakrishnan, a much large proportion of respondents say they would do business with a firm whose philanthropy they rate as "high" than with one whose philanthropy they rate as "low."

The magazine provided a list of the 15 largest donors in 2005 based on the Chronicle of Philanthropy, and those are the companies that make up this portfolio. In the description for each stock is the amount the company donated in Cash and Goods.

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