Magazine article Workforce

Companies Cut Back on Charitable Giving, but Employees Can Chip in to Make Up the Difference

Magazine article Workforce

Companies Cut Back on Charitable Giving, but Employees Can Chip in to Make Up the Difference

Article excerpt

Los Angeles-based Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) announced plans in October to scale back its corporate charitable giving program because of depressed earnings this year (revenue fell 22 percent), as well as anticipated depressed earnings in 1999. Ashland, the Russell, Kentucky-based maker of Valvoline(TM) motor oil and chemical products, announced in October that it will also trim charitable giving next year because of depressed earnings (revenues dropped 47 percent in the first three quarters of 1998). Charitable giving programs are often one of the first things an organization cuts in tough times. However, The Conference Board, a New York City-based management research organization that tracks corporate giving, doesn't expect an overall drop in contributions, largely because many companies boosted endowments during the boom years which should help them continue their good works during downturns. Corporate giving reached a record $8.2 billion last year in America's booming national economy.

Yet when firms pull the plug on corporate giving, it isn't good for public relations or employee morale-a big concern in a work environment where more employees are concerned with working for firms that are good citizens. That's why many organizations enable employees to give money to charities through payroll deductions. According to the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy based in Washington, D.C., individuals in 1996 gave nearly 80 percent of U.S. charitable contributions, compared to 7. …

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