According to the GivingLarge Report, Australian companies invested $945 million in philanthropy in 2018, but there is still a way to go to reach global levels of giving.

GivingLarge ReportAccording to the new GivingLarge Report, Australian companies are becoming more generous with investment in community causes jumping by 11%.

A comprehensive financial analysis of Australia’s top companies found $945 million was invested into philanthropic efforts in 2018 from our top 50 givers – up $90 million from 2017.

Of these top 50 companies, 28 increased their community contribution, with 19 increasing their contributions by more than 20% from 2017.

Beneficiaries varied widely but funds primarily went towards health and wellbeing (24%), education (20%), diversity and inclusion (18%), and the environment (14%).

Now in its second year, the GivingLarge Report ranks organisations by their percentage contributions of profits or earnings.

In 2018, Wesfarmers was again the largest giver when it came to contributions from pre-tax profits. The retail giant, which owns Kmart, Target and Bunnings, donated $87 million in 2018 (when it also owned Coles, since demerged onto a separate company). This represents 2.5% of the company’s 2018 profit.

Wesfarmers also topped the list in 2017, their community contributions going towards causes like medical research and wellbeing, education initiatives and community initiatives.

On the rebound from last year’s Royal Commission, it turns out the big four banks reached deeper into their pockets contributing an additional 28% or $39 million in 2018.

Report author and Strive Philanthropy Founder Jarrod Miles said the generosity of Australia’s leading companies was encouraging.

“Driving social change is an increasing priority for big business across Australia,” he said. “Not only are consumers demanding more support to make communities more equitable, safe and healthy, but businesses are also discovering philanthropy and profit can go hand-in-hand.

“Perhaps the most notable insight from this research, is corporate Australia’s under performance in percentage contribution of earnings or profit. The average 0.6% batting well below global averages and the commonly encouraged benchmark of 1%. This signifies a remarkable opportunity for this group of companies with the potential to shift an additional $600 million of funds to the community if these companies can all commit to this reasonable target.”

Miles said he hopes the GivingLarge Report encourages increased contributions, transparency and stimulates an environment of healthy philanthropic competition.

Top 10 corporate givers by % pre-tax profit (rolling 3yr)

  1. Wesfamers
  2. CSL
  3. Woolworths
  4. Tab Corp
  5. Coca Cola Amatil
  6. Medibank Private
  7. AMP
  8. Stockland
  9. IAG
  10. Telstra

Across Australia’s business sectors, the GivingLarge Report shows Medibank Private leads the finance sector and Rio Tinto tops the materials sector. Other sector leaders include Telstra in telecommunications, Stockland in real estate and Wesfarmers in consumer goods.

“Wesfarmers has always believed that a strong business environment is underpinned by a cohesive and inclusive community environment,” said Naomi Flutter, Wesfarmers executive general manager of corporate affairs. “Investing in strong communities through community partnerships is just one of the many ways we contribute to our communities.”

Wesfarmers has committed $11 million dollars over eight years to establish and provide core support for the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases (WCVID) based at the Telethon Kids Institute.

“We know that infectious diseases continue to be most common reason for hospitalisation of young children in Western Australia and the number one cause of death in children worldwide. Because of this contribution, the WCVID has quickly become a national leader and global centre of children’s paediatric infectious diseases research,” said Flutter.

Corporate funds are also crucial to not-for-profit organisations such as Foodbank, which receives donations from the QBE Foundation, the charitable arm of QBE Insurance.

Brianna Casey, Foodbank chief executive, said the charity sourced 42.8 million kilograms of food and groceries in 2018 to provide the equivalent of 77 million meals to hungry Australians.

“These efforts not only reduced waste and supported the nutritional and physical health of disadvantaged Australians, they contributed to improvements in wellbeing, sense of self-worth, social relationships, academic achievements and standard of living,” she said. “The generous support of organisations like QBE help make the work of Foodbank and our partners possible, making a positive difference to the lives of thousands of Australians in need.”

QBE was rated as one of the biggest movers in the latest research with significant increases in total contributions in 2018.

GivingLarge Report

Read the full report.

Strive Philanthropy is a research organisation dedicated to highlighting the notable philanthropic efforts of corporate Australia within our community. Strive has its sights set on working with companies to rapidly grow their mean percentage community investment. A goal that could drive millions of dollars to the Australian community

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