Arizona corporations follow national trend of charitable giving in all its forms

As Arizona companies demonstrate every day, they are part of a national trend where giving back to the communities in which they operate involves a more holistic approach.

“Bank of America goes beyond just writing checks, as we provide pro bono expertise to nonprofits, sit on board seats to help raise additional funds, and of course offer substantial employee volunteerism,” said Benito Almanza, Bank of America Phoenix market president. “For us, giving back is not just the right thing to do; we know that it also provides employee satisfaction and helps the bottom line — a win-win-win.”

Each year, the CECP (Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy), in association with

The Conference Board, produces its “Giving in Numbers” research report on corporate social investment. In 2017, more than 250 multi-billion dollar companies with total aggregate revenues of $7.5 trillion participated in the research. The top quartile leaders gave a median total of $52.3 million to various philanthropic efforts. Of that amount, $24.9 million was in corporate cash, $18.1 million was foundation cash and $9.3 million was in non-cash, such as in-kind giving or services and especially volunteering.

Almanza said that in 2017, Bank of America in the Valley provided more than 100,000 hours of local volunteer time. At about $25 an hour, that volunteer labor was worth $2.5 million to the local community.

Bank of America pays each employee two hours per week to volunteer. The company also offers an unrestricted grant for volunteer work at any eligible nonprofit for which an employee or retiree has committed substantial time within a calendar year. For example, if an employee provides a community organization with 50 hours of volunteer time within a calendar year, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation will give the organization a $250 grant. For 100 hours, the grant is $500.

“We’re invested in the places where we live and work,” Almanza said. “We invest in our employees at home and in the workplace, so they can better serve our clients and our communities.”

According to the CECP report, 61 percent of companies offered paid-release time volunteer programs. The average corporate-volunteer participation rate was 31 percent, while the participation rate was 43 percent for the top quartile.

With locations across the state, Sonora Quest Laboratories makes an impact across Arizona. In 2017, the company gave $325,950 to local charities through contributions from its corporate office and its more than 3,000 employees. Those employees also donated more than 2,200 hours at such community-based organizations as the Salvation Army, St. Mary’s Food Bank, Feed My Starving Children and many more.

“Investment in our community, through financial and in-kind donations, along with volunteerism efforts, has been a focus of Sonora Quest Laboratories throughout its more than 20 years of operations in Arizona,” said Christina Noble, chief growth officer at the company. “Our community investment is ingrained within our company culture and the enthusiasm to serve stems from the top. For example, every Sonora Quest Laboratories senior leadership team member serves on the board of a charitable organization that positively impacts our local communities.”

According to the CECP report, three community sectors get the bulk of corporate philanthropy in all its forms. At the top is K-12 or higher education programs at 29 percent; health and social service programs come in second at 26 percent; and in third with 14 percent is community and economic development programs.

Bank of America and Sonora Quest Laboratories are just two links in a long chain of corporations in the Valley and across the state that provide critical community-based organizations and programs with not only money, but also a human touch.

“Giving back to the community is part of our culture from the beginning with our founder, AP Giannini, giving back to the California immigrant community 100 years ago, and it continues today,” Almanza said.

Janet Perez

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