Corporate Giving Expected to Remain Flat in 2009

Corporate Giving Expected to Remain Flat in 2009

Spending by some of the largest corporate foundations is likely to be flat next year as the foundations' parent companies retrench in the face of a global financial crisis, Reuters reports.

The Bank of America, General Electric, and Wells Fargo foundations — the second, fifth, and ninth largest corporate philanthropies in the country, according to the Foundation Center — have indicated that their 2009 giving will be flat, even though requests for support are up. "We're getting about 20 percent more requests," said Wells Fargo spokesperson Melissa Murray. "We have been focused on providing more grants [in smaller amounts] to meet the large volume of requests."

Not all corporate foundations and giving programs are scaling back, however. The Wal-Mart and ExxonMobil foundations — ranked number three and number seven by the Foundation Center — both say their parent corporations are faring well despite the financial crisis and offered positive outlooks for their charitable giving in 2009.

According to Wal-Mart spokesperson Amy Wyatt-Moore, the company's foundation will refocus its attention on efforts that support those hardest hit by the economic crisis. "The Wal-Mart Foundation did increase charitable giving this year and plans to increase charitable giving again in 2009," said Wyatt-Moore. "In these difficult times, the work that we do to support the communities we serve is more important than ever."

Michelle Nichols. "Amid Turmoil, Corporate Giving Seen Steady." Reuters 11/04/2008.