The 14 Most Important Players in Corporate Philanthropy


Corporations can get a lot of attention for their philanthropy, thanks to well-known brands and the energetic marketing that surrounds their donations. But figuring out which companies are engaged in serious and effective philanthropy isn’t easy. Major charitable commitments in areas like racial equity and workforce development often include a murky mix of cash grants, in-kind support and financial investments, often with vague timelines. Public records that document which of these pledges are fulfilled, and how and when, can be scarce. Even identifying grantees can be difficult.

Still, there are clear leaders in corporate philanthropy, many of which Inside Philanthropy has covered for years. Most of these companies donate only a tiny fraction of their annual earnings, and such giving is lower today in real terms than it was a few decades ago. But given the size of top corporations, even these crumbs can add up to major investments. Here, we present a list of 14 companies that we see as particularly important players in philanthropy. The criteria for making the list is that a company’s giving is either substantial in scope or notably strategic. A number of the companies we selected check both boxes.  

Our list encompasses the nation’s biggest banks, most innovative pharmaceutical companies, and well-known tech giants, as well as several top retailers. This list is not definitive, but it aims to give readers a glimpse into the world of corporate philanthropy, where it’s been and where it may be going. 

One theme that runs through the list is how corporations increasingly pursue giving strategies that align closely with their core businesses. For example, The Home Depot has a major initiative to train skilled tradespeople, while Intel focuses its giving on science education. Another theme, which won’t come as a big surprise, is that many of the biggest corporate givers also face major reputational challenges — top banks have been repeatedly sued by federal regulators, tech companies are under growing fire from both political parties, and pharmaceutical companies face scrutiny for how they price drugs. Philanthropy has long been a way for business titans to burnish their public images and corporations pursue the same strategy. 

Now, on to the list.   

Amgen Foundation

The philanthropy of the biotech giant focuses heavily on science education and it approaches this area in innovative ways — but also, as with so many other firms on this list, with an eye toward business strategy and reputation. 

For example, in 2020, working with Harvard, Amgen launched the LabXchange platform, offering a vast library of digital information from science organizations around the globe. The library, benefiting from Amgen’s $43 million investment, offers the opportunity to create what Amgen calls “customized learning experiences” and is available in more than 14 languages. In 2022, Amgen reported that 80% of all new LabXchange users were from low- or lower-middle-income countries. Amgen wants to increase the number of users from 36 million to 50 million by 2025. 

High school science education is another giving priority for Amgen. Its Amgen Biotech Experience offers teacher training, class materials, and lab equipment that is research-grade. The program now reaches 90,000 students and 1,500 teachers each year. Since 2020, its science education initiatives have emphasized equity, ensuring that under-resourced schools and students benefit.

The Amgen scholars program has given more than 5,000 university undergraduates the opportunity to work with top academic researchers at institutions around the world. Amgen has also been a strong supporter of Khan Academy, which provides free video lessons to math and science students all over the world. In 2020, Amgen renewed its $3 million grant to the nonprofit, as the “exclusive sponsor” of the videos’ biology content. 

These carefully curated investments help to ensure a future pipeline of scientist researchers, while enhancing Amgen’s reputation among consumers. That good will is particularly valuable as the biotech giant faces criticism from Sen. Elizabeth Warren over the surging prices of its products, and as the FTC, worried about choking off competition in this sector, sues to block another Amgen merger

Bank of America

Banks tend to be big spenders when it comes to philanthropy. But they generally stay in their lanes when doling out grants, sticking to housing, workforce and community development, with a lot of resources lately going to boost communities of color and to expand opportunity for young Blacks and Latinos. Those priorities align well with banks’ business need to expand the market for home mortgages and small business loans, while ensuring a supply of trained workers. 

BofA has done all of that, with an explicit focus on promoting racial equality and through significant grantmaking to “nonprofit organizations focused on issues fundamental to economic mobility in low and moderate-income communities.” But its philanthropic strategy has also taken on other priorities, such as food insecurity and access to health for underserved communities. 

For example, in 2020, the bank announced a $1 billion, four-year commitment “to help local communities address economic and racial inequality accelerated by a global pandemic.” Much bank philanthropy focused on this goal, but BofA made health services — including virus testing, telemedicine and flu vaccination clinics, particularly in communities of color — eligible for grants. It has given grants to hospitals in underserved neighborhoods in Nevada, Virginia and Texas, and elsewhere. 

Its funding for food insecurity has been substantial and continued even as the pandemic wound down. In late 2021, when interest in COVID vaccines was lagging, the bank pledged to donate $100 to local food organizations for each employee who got a jab. As employees began taking up BofA on the offer, the bank kicked in an additional $50 for each worker who got either the flu or COVID vaccine by November 23. The campaign generated nearly $19 million for groups fighting food insecurity.


Citi Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Citigroup, has emerged in recent years as a major funder of equity initiatives, making grants to hundreds of nonprofits in that space, including many working to promote racial justice.   

In 2022, the foundation launched a $10 million Strengthening Community Leadership Initiative, which gave $1 million apiece over two years to established Black civil rights groups such as the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the NAACP, along with AAPI, Latino and disability rights organizations. 

Last year, Citi also announced the recipients of a $50 million Community Finance Innovation Fund, awarding funding to 12 nonprofits working toward greater economic progress for low-income communities.

These initiatives aligned with Citi’s “Action for Racial Equity” initiative introduced in 2020, in which the bank and its foundation pledged $1 billion to help “close the racial wealth gap in the U.S.” The Citi Foundation also funds internationally, announcing a Global Innovation Challenge in 2023 that is focused on alleviating food insecurity around the world. The challenge will give 50 nonprofits $500,000 each over two years. 

Gilead Sciences

Gilead, a biopharmaceutical company best known as the maker of the COVID treatment Remdesivir, is involved in cutting-edge pharmaceutical research, developing biotech products to treat cancer, HIV/AIDs and viral hepatitis. Its foundation, meanwhile, describes its own mission as striving for “health prosperity — not just health equity — for all.” 

In 2021, according to its most recent federal tax report, the foundation gave about $6 million in grants. But those records do not tell the whole story. In 2022, for example, Gilead reported that its global foundation and corporate giving totaled $300 million, although that figure is impossible to verify. Among corporate givers operating globally — and through other channels besides U.S.-based 501(c)(3) philanthropy — Gilead is hardly alone in that respect.

Gilead’s giving largely addresses health equity by focusing on access to treatment for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and triple-negative breast cancer. Not surprisingly, Gilead makes drugs that specialize in these diseases, and benefits if more patients get treatment. 

Gilead has given millions in grants to groups helping older patients living with HIV to address “stigma, loneliness and better coordination of care.” In 2023, Gilead gave $3 million in grants to eight nonprofits serving HIV patients in rural communities in the U.S. Gilead also partnered with the Elton John AIDS Foundation to care for patients in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. 

On the breast cancer front, over the past two years, the company has given more than $13 million to 45 nonprofits helping to remove “social, environmental and economic disparities” that make it more difficult to get cancer care for people of color — who are more likely to get triple-negative breast cancer. The 2023 grants also assist Jewish, Latino, LGBTQIA and Indigenous patients. 

In 2023, Gilead began an $8 million program to ensure that U.S. patients diagnosed with viral hepatitis get access to care, part of the company’s effort to meet the World Health Organization’s goal of eliminating the disease as a global health threat. 

But the company’s philanthropic scope may be expanding even further, promoting health equity more broadly. In 2022, its foundation launched a $20 million Creating Possible Fund “to support creative and high-impact strategies that advance health through education equity.” By improving education for students of color, the fund aims to “build a pipeline of Black health leaders.” That same year, the company donated $14 million to a program aimed at increasing diversity among physicians and medical students doing clinical research. 


Google’s philanthropy is a bit of a black box. Google filed its last federal tax report in early 2019. It’s unclear whether Google has a foundation currently, although continues to be its philanthropic arm. Meanwhile, its longtime leader, Jacquelline Fuller, announced her departure in August of this year on her LinkedIn account.

The company’s giving often seeks out charitable causes where it can show off its own products and technology. For example, in 2022, launched a $30 million climate impact challenge, pledging to fund “big bet” ideas to address the climate crisis. This year, its grantee World Resources Institute will receive $5 million to support an initiative to use technology, including AI, to map the earth’s hot spots to better predict extreme heat. In 2019, Google gave a $1.7 million grant to two nonprofits to use AI to track global carbon emissions. 

Its $300 million Google News Initiative, launched in 2018, now claims 7,000 news partners in more than 120 countries. Google provides training to newsrooms to teach journalists how to use search and other Google tools more effectively, benefitting their reporting and bottom lines. Its Digital News Initiative has funded 662 news projects in Europe. also engages in local philanthropy. In 2019, for example, it launched a 10-year, $1 billion initiative to provide more affordable housing in the San Francisco region, repurposing $750 million in land the corporation owned for residential use, and creating a $250 million housing development investment fund. Of that, just $50 million went to community groups working on homelessness.

The Home Depot 

Over the past decade, The Home Depot — the world’s largest home improvement retailer — has carved out a philanthropic mission that is focused on helping veterans, training skilled tradespeople and responding to natural disasters.  

Since 2011, its foundation has spent $475 million, focused on improving or creating 55,000 veteran homes and facilities, through grants of up to $500,000 each that cover up to 50% of the cost of rehabbing or building new housing. It hopes to invest $500 million into this priority by 2025. It also has pledged to spend $50 million on training a new generation of tradespeople through its Path to Pro program. 

Path to Pro, launched in 2018 in collaboration with the Home Builders Institute, has provided free skills training to 1,200 veterans, to students in 110 high schools in 32 states, and through its Path to Pro Academies in Denver and Orlando, training 600 adults from diverse communities. 

This training will likely help Home Depot recruit and retain workers. Its workforce of more than 400,000 recently received a wage boost when the corporation proposed to spend $1 billion on raises. Starting hourly wage in all U.S. markets is at least $15.

The company’s philanthropic arm consists of two divisions, The Home Depot Foundation and the Homer Fund, the latter of which helps employees facing emergencies and offers college scholarships to their children. Together, these entities made $64 million in grants in 2020, according to the most recent available tax return. The largest grantees included chapters of Habitat for Humanity and veterans groups. 

Intel Foundation 

The semiconductor giant Intel Corporation isn’t a big donor relative to its size. Nevertheless, it gives consistently to programs that help level the playing field for women and girls and under-represented minorities in STEM education. And, refreshingly, it is transparent about how it gives. 

Since 1988, Intel’s foundation has given $793 million in grants. In 2022, it gave $59.7 million in corporate cash, spent $22.7 million to match employee gifts and gave $3.2 million in foundation grants. Since 2017, the Intel Foundation has invested $4.65 million in STEM education for middle school girls.

Last year, the Intel Foundation gave $1 million in grants to six historically Black colleges and also renewed its $250,000 investment in Georgia Tech’s Center for Engineering Education and Diversity program. 

In 2022, Intel also announced a 10-year, $50 million grant program for Ohio educators to help the company train workers for its semiconductor factories. In collaboration with the National Science Foundation, Intel is offering an additional $50 million to develop learning tools for this workforce, seeking grant proposals from across the country. The NSF is matching Intel’s gift with a $50 million federal investment. 

JPMorgan Chase 

Over the past decade, this banking giant has established itself as a major philanthropic player in the area of community economic development, with a focus on promoting opportunity and mobility in a handful of cities, including Washington, D.C., Detroit and Chicago. Recent large grants also have gone to nonprofits in Nashville, Indianapolis, Dallas and Boston.

In 2018, feeling flush from the Trump tax cuts, JPMorgan Chase announced it would increase its philanthropic largesse — totaling about $250 million a year — to $1.75 billion over the following five years, averaging out to an additional $100 million each year. While it’s not clear that the bank will achieve that goal, there’s no disputing its philanthropic firepower. For example, in 2021, it gave 85 grants of $1 million or more to U.S. nonprofits, totaling more than $150 million, or more than half its total grants of $231 million that year. 

Unlike many corporations that spread their charitable gifts widely, JPMorgan has sustained a disciplined focus on creating more broadly shared prosperity — a reform that CEO Jamie Diamond ushered in a decade ago. 

Levi Strauss Foundation

“Outfitting movements and leaders fighting for a more just world” sums up the identity of the Levi Strauss Foundation (LSF), the philanthropic arm of the jeans retailer. Created in 1952, LSF reports that it has awarded $369 million in grants “since inception,” including $12 million in 2022. A leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS from the early 1980s, LSF says it has invested more than $78 million in “frontline HIV/AIDS organizations in the United States and more than 40 countries.”

The foundation has also funded numerous organizations that support LGBTQ advocacy, including the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Transgender Law Center, as well as social justice groups such as the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and United We Dream.   

The foundation has touted Levi Strauss’ support for garment and apparel workers through the company’s “worker wellbeing” initiative. It has made grants to support apparel worker welfare as well as emergency relief to apparel workers in numerous countries, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Brazil and Mexico. 

That effort, however, has not shielded the company from worker activist protests for refusing to sign on to the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile & Garment Industry, an agreement holding companies accountable to ensuring that their suppliers in Bangladesh and Pakistan protect worker health and safety. 


Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ personal philanthropy is well known. And other Microsoft billionaires, like Steve Ballmer and the late Paul Allen, have also engaged in sizable giving. But the Microsoft Corporation also has a philanthropic arm. While the company’s giving has long focused on expanding access to technology and building digital skills, large grants in recent years have gone to civil rights and homelessness, as well as COVID-related work. That has included tens of millions in grants to local nonprofits in Washington State that were hard-hit by the pandemic. 

After the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, Microsoft pledged $51 million for racial justice work, including a $250,000 grant to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. 

Microsoft’s overall philanthropy tends to be less about giving nonprofits cash grants, and more about offering Microsoft products, technology and support. Some initiatives appear to complement the company’s business interests. AI for Health, a Microsoft program launched in 2020 as a five-year, $40 million investment, is now a $60-million effort. Its focus initially involved using the power of artificial intelligence to fight the pandemic, but the program has now trained its sights on public health infrastructure, developing sophisticated technology for early diagnosis of diseases, particularly in the developing world, and using genomic technology to predict new threats to global public health.

Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Microsoft has given more than $400 million worth of technology support to the beleaguered nation, ensuring its cybersecurity infrastructure and other vital computer networks are able to continue running. 

PNC Bank

Giving nearly $65 million in grants in 2021, the PNC Foundation has charted an unusual philanthropic strategy, becoming a major funder of early childhood education.  

PNC created its Grow Up Great initiative in 2004, and to date, has given about a half-billion dollars toward bilingual early childhood education, and $225 million to improve the quality of education from birth to preschool, benefiting an estimated 8 million children.  

According to PNC’s website, “powerful partnerships” have been the secret to its success. “Because we’re bankers, not educators, we’ve collaborated from the start of PNC Grow Up Great with education experts, at the local and national levels, to develop resources and programs that encourage children to discover, learn and grow.”

Likewise, PNC Arts Alive, created in 2009, has given more than $18 million in grants to arts programs in Philadelphia and its suburbs, along with central Ohio, southeast Florida, southern New Jersey, Delaware and the  St. Louis area. It’s all about helping these groups better serve their communities. 

A more recent foundation initiative focuses on assisting historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). In 2021, the foundation, working with Howard University, created the National Center for Entrepreneurship, launching the center with a five-year, $16.8 million grant to support greater opportunities and training for Black entrepreneurs. In 2022, the foundation gave $2.5 million in grants to seven HBCUs in communities where it has operations. 


Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne, are known in the philanthropic world for their major gifts to various causes. But Benioff’s company, Salesforce, also strives to benefit the community, committing since it was founded in 1999 to donate 1% of earnings, product and employee time to charitable causes — its so-called 1-1-1 model. According to its website, the Salesforce Foundation has donated $620 million since it was created 24 years ago, with grants going to over 4,000 nonprofits. 

Education has been a major focus. In 2021, according to the Salesforce Foundation’s most recent federal tax report, about half its grants went to public education in San Francisco and nearby Oakland. In a September 2022 blog post, Salesforce announced that it was providing $25 million in grants “to support school districts and education nonprofits across the United States.” Grant recipients include public schools not only in San Francisco and Oakland, but also Indianapolis, Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles. 

Workforce development is another priority for the Salesforce Foundation. Last year, it gave more than $4 million to 10 nonprofits across the country that conduct job counseling and training. Recently, the foundation’s Catalyst Fund announced $1 million in grants benefitting Black leaders. 

Salesforce’s biggest philanthropic impact may lie in its efforts to catalyze greater charitable giving across the tech world by founding Pledge 1%, an initiative that has won charitable commitments by over 10,000 companies in over 100 countries., the philanthropic arm of Walmart, the country’s largest retailer and private employer, describes its mission in expansive terms — “to create large-scale systems change that has lasting impact.” To do this, it works with the company’s sprawling business operations across a range of areas, including workforce development, health and environmental sustainability. 

In 2015, for example, created the Retail Opportunity Initiative, committing $100 million over five years to make the retail industry “a place of inclusive mobility.” That focus is ongoing, and includes “supporting research and insights on best practices to build mobility in retail and adjacent sectors; investing in building effective and innovative approaches to training and advancement; and engaging and collaborating with other employers to help improve the entire ecosystem.”

Food is another area where aims to complement efforts by the broader company. It describes Walmart as expanding access to healthy, affordable foods in underserved communities while at the “same time, directs philanthropic investments to strengthen the charitable meal system.” 

The foundation and corporation claim to give $1.7 billion annually in grants and in-kind contributions, but only a small part of that is visible in the foundation’s most recent federal tax report. In 2021, Walmart Foundation gave $158 million in grants to nonprofits working on everything from healthy food to workforce training and disaster relief, with a number of groups receiving seven-figure donations. 

In 2020, Walmart and its foundation committed $100 million to its new Center for Racial Equity. To date, it has invested $58 million in the center to “advance racial equity” within four areas: education, finance, health and criminal justice.

In 2023, Walmart, concerned about retaining workers in a more competitive labor market, announced it was raising its average hourly pay to $17.50, with about two-thirds of employees working full-time. But those improvements may still leave thousands of Walmart workers bringing home paychecks under $40,000 a year, forcing many to rely on public assistance to make ends meet. No wonder that in 2021, the year of Walmart’s most recent federal tax filing, the foundation gave $2 million in matching funds to Walmart’s own Associates in Critical Need Trust, which helps Walmart workers survive after natural disasters or their own financial emergencies. 

Wells Fargo Foundation 

Wells Fargo, a major mortgage lender, has embraced housing affordability as a top philanthropic priority, along with economic mobility and environmental sustainability. Its foundation made more than $200 million in grants in 2021 to hundreds of nonprofits, with a major emphasis in recent years on committing tens of millions of dollars to racial equity in home lending and home ownership. Its major initiatives include its “Wealth Opportunities Restored Through Home Ownership” (WORTH) grants, a $60-million effort with the goal of creating 40,000 new homeowners of color by 2025. In 2022 and 2023, as part of this effort, the foundation gave $7.5 million each in grants to affordable housing initiatives in New York City, Milwaukee, Houston, San Diego, Philadelphia and Richmond, Virginia. Additionally, the foundation gave $7.5 million to Habitat for Humanity to renovate and rebuild 360 homes nationwide. 

In 2022, the foundation also launched a $20 million Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge, seeking innovative approaches to financing, building and access to affordable housing. Grantees will receive up to $3 million to develop their proposals.  

The foundation’s most creative grant may be its $5 million donation to the National Urban League to reduce barriers of entry for people of color into the home appraisal industry. The grant extends over five years and aims to certify up to 260 new appraisers in Atlanta, Charlotte and Houston. Researchers have found blatant racism in appraisals of homes over decades, with homes owned by white families consistently given higher values than similar properties owned by people of color.

These recent grants may help redeem the bank’s reputation, which has taken a shellacking recently. Last year, Wells Fargo was ordered to pay a total of $3.7 billion — $2 billion to compensate its customers and $1.7 billion in the largest fine ever assessed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — for misconduct that began in 2011.