The Transparency Problem in Corporate Philanthropy

Companies contribute billions annually to the public good, but most of them aren’t reaping the full value of their largesse.

Despite increasing demands by employees, investors, and communities for environmental, social, and governance transparency, philanthropy remains an often overlooked and almost entirely opaque sphere of corporate activity. This is no small issue: In 2021, corporate giving in the U.S. alone is estimated to have exceeded $21 billion.

To explore the dimensions of this problem and understand the use of disclosures in corporate philanthropy more broadly, I studied transparency in the philanthropic foundations of Fortune 100 companies. ...

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