Business Week Highlights 50 Most Generous Philanthropists

     The broadcast media have often paid short shrift to corporate philanthropic donations, preferring to focus on layoffs, downsizing, lawsuits, scandals, and other stories that portray American business in a negative light. A feature in the November 28 Business Week proved a must read for evening and morning news producers, with its reports on corporate philanthropy, particularly Suzanne Woolleys piece on The Top Givers.

     The top 25 of the 50 most generous philanthropists on Business Weeks list alone gave over $30 billion to charitable causes from the years 2001-2005, on issues as diverse as spirituality, poetry and Armenian causes. To put that in perspective, $30 billion is the size of the oil industrys profit margin that the media was recently incensed about. Its also roughly the size of what Congress authorized the federal government to spend on Homeland Security next year.

     Such a tremendous outpouring of generosity is not uncommon, however. In the few short days after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, major American corporations frequently under media scrutiny such as Wal-Mart and drug manufacturers came to the aid of victims. The Business & Media Institute
documented then how the broadcast networks underreported, if not ignored, such charitable giving.