At a time when the Occupy Wall Street protests are shining a light on greed in America, some companies make a point of donating a significant chunk of their profits to charity. Example: In 2010 Kroger, the Cincinnati supermarket operator, gave away 10.9% of its $589 million in 2009 pre-tax profits, amounting to $64 million. Kroger tops an annual list put together by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The magazine tracks corporate giving through a survey it sends to 300 of the nation’s largest companies by revenues. This year the Chronicle compiled data on 180 companies, culled from survey results and tax forms. (For more on the survey’s methodology, click here.) In 2010, total cash donations by this group rose 13%, to $4.9 billion, a boon to nonprofits after the recession resulted in a 7.5% decline in giving in 2009.
The Chronicle helped Forbes put together two lists. The one we think is most meaningful: The companies that are most generous in their cash donations as a percentage of pre-tax profits. Kroger tops that list. According to the company’s vice president of corporate affairs, Lynn Marmer, $40 million of Kroger’s cash giving flows through a 15-year-old community rewards program, where shoppers who carry Kroger’s loyalty cards name a local charity they want to support. Kroger then gives 2%-5% (determined by local stores) of each shopper’s bill as a cash contribution to the school, church, or community group chosen by the customer.