When measured by median contributions, American corporations gave slightly more to health and human services organizations than to any other type of charity in 1992, but the share of contributions to such groups is slowly shrinking, according to a new study.
In an analysis of corporate contributions, the New York-based Conference Board, an international business membership organization, noted an overall stagnation in corporate giving for all types of charities.
The report is based on a survey of 371 large and medium-size firms. A core group of 272 companies responded to the 1991 and 1992 surveys, permitting some prior-year comparisons.
The report said corporate restructurings and divestitures, coupled with turmoil in the world and U.S. economy, have slowed annual growth rates in charitable giving. Corporate giving rose 2.7% in 1992, but the increase for 1993 was expected to be less than 1%. That compares with 8% average growth rates in the mid-1980s and 5% in 1990.
When analyzed by median contributions, the $670,155 spent by corporations on health and human services represented 34.6% of total giving, followed by education at $670,097, or 30.4%. Median contributions to health and human services have declined from a high of 41.1% in 1982. The Conference Board said corporations apparently are reallocating donations to culture and art and civic and community needs.
But when contributions are measured by total dollars, the greatest share goes to education. The 371 respondents gave $764.7 million, or 37.1%, of their total contributions to education, followed by health and human services with $570.8 million, or 27.7% of total giving.
The report showed that companies with smaller budgets for philanthropy gave a larger share to health and human service charities than those with more money to spend. Companies with charitable giving budgets of less than $500,000 gave 45.5% of those budgets to health and human services, while companies with more than $5 million to spend allocated just 27% for that area.
The pharmaceutical industry was the top giver among business sectors. Drug companies reported the highest total contribution to charity, with more than $242 million in donations.