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Corporate Giving Back on Prerecession Track: Report

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Corporate philanthropy has rebounded to prerecession levels, according to a new report.

On Monday, CECP (formerly Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy) in conjunction with the Conference Board released Giving in Numbers: 2013 Edition.

The study is based on data from 240 companies, including 60 of the top 100 companies in the Fortune 500.

The study found that total corporate giving increased for 59% of companies from 2007 to 2012. Thirty-eight percent of all companies boosted their giving by 25% or more.

In inflation-adjusted dollars, aggregate corporate giving rose by 42%, $4.5 billion, from 2007 to 2012.

Many companies gave noncash support and other in-kind resources, including excess inventory, pro bono service, use of company facilities, intellectual property and land.

For companies that had provided noncash support in 2007, the median percentage change in noncash contributions was 38% in 2012.

Higher education and K–12 education was the most funded program area for all companies for the first time since Giving in Numbers was first released in 2006, representing 29% of the average company’s programmatic allocation.

Health and social services followed closely at 28%.

The report said companies had engaged their employees in new ways. The percentage of those that offered paid-release-time volunteer programs increased from 53% in 2007 to 70% in 2012.

As well, matching-gift programs evolved, and disaster relief matching-gift programs became more popular at companies from 2007 to 2012.

Forty percent of respondents said they expected their giving to increase from 2012 to 2013, while 18% expected a giving reduction. Forty-two percent of companies said no year-on-year change in giving levels would occur.

“Companies are looking deeper into their core strategies and across business units to determine the most strategic ways to invest in addressing societal challenges,” Jonathan Spector, the Conference Board’s president and chief executive, said in a statement.

“The benefit behind companies being a better community partner is that these societal solutions also solve core business challenges, simultaneously. From engaged employees to more efficient use of surplus products, benefits are streaming both ways.”

Check out Wealthy Investors Skeptical of Companies’ Socially Responsible Claims on ThinkAdvisor.