Charitable Contributions: The Naughty And The Nice

As most of us rush to get our holiday shopping done over the next several weeks, we will also be trying to find ways to give back for being so fortunate through donating to our favorite charities. Are corporations doing the same? One aspect of ESG (environmental, social and governance) or sustainable and responsible investing includes just that: charitable and philanthropic donations. In recognition of this holiday season, it is always enlightening to see which companies are the most charitable when it comes to giving to those in need. A list of 2011’s most charitable companies can be seen here:

Clearly companies like Pfizer (PFE) with total gifting and Wal-Mart (WMT) in terms of cash are the most philanthropic.

As investors in these companies it is also nice to see which are being “charitable” when it comes to paying a dividend to their shareholders. Dividends are a way for a corporation to return profit to the shareholders. Lately, they have become much more important as rates of return for fixed income vehicles including bank CDs and U.S. Treasuries are at all time lows. If they are able to make such large philanthropic donations outside of the company, it is nice to know that they are giving back to their rightful owners as well. Below the Kapitall Compar-O-Matic tool, maps these philanthropic companies along with their dividend payment to give us an idea of who is on Santa’s naughty or nice list for the year.

Eli-Lilly (LLY) and Merck (MRK) are paying close to a 4% dividend while Oracle (ORCL) pays less than 1% and Google (GOOG), not graphed, has yet to commit to paying any dividend to its shareholders.


Written by Dale Wannen, Kapitall’s ESG content expert.