Corporate Australia GivingLarge Through COVID-19

Corporate Australia GivingLarge through COVID-19

In what has been a distressing and unprecedented year for Australians let alone the planet it was with intrigue and hope that we embarked upon our latest analysis to understand the contribution of our top companies towards COVID-19. Companies can play a crucial role in maintaining community stability and driving the economy but what happens when large industries are significantly affected by a global health pandemic? During the bushfire crisis we saw many companies rapidly respond with generous donations to regionally affected communities but what happens when the corporate benefactors themselves are at risk. Perhaps a health risk to employees, an operational risk to continued supply or a financial risk due to an impacted economy and isolated consumers. What happens to community giving during these times?

Pleasingly our results suggest that many of our top companies reached further into their pockets to give greater amounts to support efforts around COVID-19. Our analysis uncovering $152 Million contribution from 22 top companies that clearly & publicly disclosed a cash contribution between Feb and August 2020. The analysed cohort included all GivingLarge 2019 companies, made up of ASX100 and high revenue private companies.

Notably, most of the disclosed cash amount came from just 6 companies whose contribution exceeded $135 million, more than 88% of the total. The largest contributions came from mining giants BHP, Rio-Tinto, Newcrest and South32. With combined contributions over $100 million (see Table 1). Other big givers included Macquarie Group, contributing $20M through their foundation and Woodside Energy setting up a $10M COVID-19 community fund. Importantly while not all organisations were in a position to make large cash contributions we noted many took the opportunity to confirm their intent to continue to support their existing and ongoing community partners.

Our analysis is limited to those companies disclosing a contribution during this time and so importantly may neglect significant company contributions that have not been publicly disclosed.  With that, these results should be interpreted with caution. Our year end GivingLarge report analysing compulsory financial reports of this same group of companies will yield a more robust review of giving throughout 2020.

Understandably, not all companies have been able to quickly secure extra funds to donate to the community, given the significant economic impact to some industries. In those instances it was pleasing to see companies supporting the community with other non-cash contributions. While the cash donations may reach the headlines, a larger amount of companies committed to community support though the provision of free product and pro-bono services. 66% of companies disclosing a contribution of some kind in these areas. Common examples of product and service provision include supermarket food donations, contribution of real estate space and access to interest and fee free bank loans for families and businesses doing it tough.

Majority of the contributions went towards areas within health, social and public welfare and education, with institutions like University of Queensland & Doherty Institute receiving donations for their COVID-19 research and non-profits such as Royal Flying Doctor Service, Lifeline, Foodbank and the Smith Family all receiving donations to support their on the ground relief work.

Most Cited Beneficiaries

University of Queensland Royal Flying Doctor Service LifeLine
Doherty Institute Global Foodbanking Network Red Cross
Telethon Kids Foodbank Smith Family
Burnet Institute OzHarvest
Vanguard Health Brotherhood of St Laurence


Contributions over $1M Cash Donation ($M)
BHP $50
Rio Tinto $25
Newcrest $20
Macqaurie Group $20
South32 $10
Woodside $10
QBE Insurance $2.6
Westpac $2.3
NIB health $1.5
TabCorp $1.5
ANZ $1.5
Coca Cola Amatil $1.3
Fortescue $1.0
Coles $1.0
CBA $1.0
La Trobe Financial $1.0
Suncorp $1.0

Download Full report here

: Our analysis is limited to those companies disclosing a contribution during this time and so importantly may neglect significant company contributions that have not been publicly disclosed*Publicly disclosed contributions towards COVID-19 between 1 February 2020 and 1 August 2020 from companies include in latest GivingLarge dataset. Includes ASX100 and large private companies operating in Australia.  Dollar figures refer to cash donations. ^Disclosure of contribution from full GivingLarge cohort.

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