By surveying the top 150 companies in the Fortune 500 and collecting data from public documents filed, The Chronicle of Philanthropy has published a list of the most charitable public companies, which can be viewed here. With help from the Chronicle, Fortune has identified the top 5 most generous companies, as measured by cash contributions. The dollar amounts cited below were independently verified by Fortune. In total, the 20 most generous companies donated $3.5 billion in cash in 2015.
1. Gilead Sciences
Gilead’s 2015 cash contributions: $446.7 million
Gilead’s giving jumped by nearly two-thirds in 2015, due to rising revenues as the biotech firm expanded into the Hepatitis C market. Most of the company’s grants are reactive, based on specific funding requests from nonprofit groups. The company declined to provide an accounting of its biggest cash grants in 2015, but said that most giving falls within its work on HIV/AIDS and liver disease. Last year, for example, Gilead granted $2-million to help the nonprofit Liver Foundation build a health facility in Kolkata, India.
Walmart’s 2015 cash contributions: $301 million
Kathleen McLaughlin serves as president of the Walmart Foundation and as the company’s chief sustainability officer, a reflection of the retail giant’s desire to align its philanthropic work with its efforts to green and improve its business operations and supply chain. Last year, it pledged $100 million to advance economic mobility for retail workers. That commitment includes a $10.9 million grant to nonprofit workforce organizations, to implement career services specific to retail. The company also raised starting wages for employees from $9 to $10 per hour. (Labor activists, along with a coalition of workers known as OUR Walmart, have called for an increase to $15 an hour). In addition, Walmart helps the anti-hunger charity Feeding America distribute fresh produce to people in need by donating food, providing refrigerated trucks, and pairing its logistics experts with the organization.
Wells Fargo’s 2015 cash contributions: $281.3 million
The bank aims to donate between 1.2% and 1.5% of its earnings each year. It does that through two primary philanthropic portfolios: one that’s distributed at the local level, by senior leaders in markets where the bank operates, and a second that is national and more tightly tied to the firm’s business expertise. For example, in 2015, Wells Fargo gave a total of $25 million to the nonprofit NeighborWorks, to support financial education and down payments on homes. Employees receive two days of paid leave per year to volunteer; they can also apply to spend six weeks working with a nonprofit of their choice.
4. Goldman Sachs Group
Goldman Sachs’s 2015 cash contributions: $276.4 million
In 2007, the financial services firm hired Dina Powell, an alumna of the George W. Bush administration, to lead its philanthropy and social investments. Since then (and in the aftermath of the financial crisis), Goldman’s giving has spiked. It gave away 3% of its pre-tax profits last year, compared with a median of 1% for Fortune 500 companies, according to Chronicle of Philanthropy data. The firm’s signature initiatives, 10,000 Women and 10,000 Small Businesses, have catalyzed a loan facility with the International Finance Corporation for women entrepreneurs and connected 6,300 small business owners with training and capital, respectively. Goldman also gives away grants through a donor-advised fund based on guidance from its employees.
ExxonMobil’s 2015 cash contributions: $268 million
The oil and gas company (XOM, -0.48%) inched up its giving by 13.2% last year. Grants focus on three areas: education, malaria prevention, and economic opportunity for women. The company declined to disclose details of its giving last year. But in 2014, the most recent year for which data was available, grants from the ExxonMobil Foundation included contributions of $80,000 to dozens of science camps at colleges and universities nationwide; $1.9 million to Vital Voices, the international women’s group founded by Hillary Clinton; and $500,000 to the Medicines for Malaria Venture.