America's Most Philanthropic Companies

Cash is king.

This sentiment is as true in the realm of charitable contributions as it is in the world of mergers and acquisitions. While many corporations give generously in terms of products and employee time — Microsoft, for instance, gave away $179 million in software last year — the real cost of donated time, products and services is debatable.

But there is no arguing the value of cash-giving. So to draw up our listing of America's most philanthropic companies, we looked at Forbes 500 firms and their cash donations for 2001. Data on cash contributions was provided by our friends at The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Most companies budget their donations based on the previous year's income, so to determine which firms were the most generous we took 2001 cash giving and divided it by 2000 operating income. We also compiled a list of the absolute largest cash donations.

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