A new report from Strive Philanthropy has revealed Corporate Australia is still giving generously during COVID-19.

Corporate giving during COVID-19
Despite economic downturn and unprecedented global shutdowns, Corporate Australia is still digging deep. A COVID-19-focused GivingLarge report by Strive Philanthropy has revealed significant support from Australia’s top public and private companies to areas of need emphasised by the pandemic.

Focusing on Australia’s 50 leading corporate givers, the report found that 66% of companies had committed to some form of community investment during the pandemic, ranging from direct cash donations to product and service provisions to support those in need.

Corporate giving during COVID-19

*Publicly disclosed cash donations towards COVID-19 between 1 February 2020 and 1 August 2020 from Strive Philanthropy’s GivingLarge dataset.

Of the $152 million publicly disclosed as cash contributions from 22 GivingLarge companies, a whopping 88% came from just six corporates.

“There is clearly a need for businesses to support all their stakeholders during this challenging period and that certainly includes their community,” says research author and Strive Philanthropy founder, Jarrod Miles.

These findings support JBWere’s John McLeod’s prediction that despite the economic impact of the pandemic, corporates will remain committed to nonprofit partners.

Funding, pledged between February 2020 and August 2020, has predominantly been allocated to organisations working in health and social/public welfare.

Corporate giving during COVID-19

The breakdown of corporate giving towards COVID-19 by cause area and type of contribution between 1 February 2020 and 1 August 2020.

The Australasian COVID-19 Trial (ASCOT) received significant funding, including $1 million from GivingLarge corporate, Macquarie Group Foundation.

Throughout the pandemic, Macquarie Group has contributed $20 million through their foundation.

“The decision to make this additional donation, over and above the Foundation’s usual activities, is in recognition of the exceptional challenges that COVID-19 is presenting right now, and will present in the medium term, as communities turn their focus to economic recovery,” says Macquarie Group Chief Executive Officer, Shemara Wikramanayake.

In these unprecedented times, it’s definitely heartening to see companies standing by their community.

“Now is not the time for us to abandon our community partners. Companies like ours can play a crucial role in maintaining stability now, and driving the economic recovery after the health crisis passes,” said Chief Executive Officer of Woodside Energy, Peter Coleman.

Woodside Energy has pledged a $10 million COVID-19 Community Fund to assist organisations supporting those most vulnerable in their key operation areas in Western Australia. Lifeline WA and Foodbank WA have been named as the first two beneficiaries.

Another notable donation, to the tune of $50 million from BHP, will be used to establish the Vital Resources Fund to help support regional Australian communities. This fund will provide support for local and regional health networks, essential community services, community mental health and resilience, and social partners and community leaders to support rural Indigenous communities.

Positively, Strive Philanthropy’s Miles says that while 34% of the GivingLarge corporates didn’t disclose any specific giving, this doesn’t mean that they haven’t contributed, or don’t plan to contribute in some way in the future.

“Understandably, not all companies are able to quickly secure extra funds to donate to the community, given the significant economic impact to some industries,” says Miles.

“While the cash donations may reach the headlines, we’ve also seen a significant amount of community support through the provision of free product and pro-bono services. These contributions can be tricky to put a dollar value on but can still be very impactful.”

Strive Philanthropy will release a year-end report to provide a more robust picture of giving throughout 2020.

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