Why Bay Area Companies Lead the Nation in Giving

This story isn’t just about Bay Area companies that give away piles of cash due to their extreme profitability and wealth. Let’s face it, that would be a snoozer of a news story. This story is about the rate at which Bay Area companies give, how it exceeds the national average, and why. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s 2013 Corporate Citizenship report has found giving among Bay Area companies soars far above the giving rates in other parts of the country, and we’re here to take a peek inside the numbers.

Bay Area companies lead the nation not in cash giving, but in more nontraditional giving avenues, such as giving of company resources, or employee time. Bay Area companies make 56% of their charitable contributions in non-cash ways, whereas the national average percentage for non-cash giving is 18%. Bay Area companies are also giving more per employee than companies in other parts of the country— $739 per employee over $620 per employee, which is the national average. Big difference.

This trend really gets at the heart of the fundamental cultural divide between Bay Area companies and their geographically diverse competitors. Specifically, it’s pretty old school to think of charitable contributions as just about money. But clearly, companies all over the country are doing just that, thereby limiting themselves in their charity by failing to think outside the box. Bay Area companies, with their young CEOs and sleek, egalitarian corporate campuses, are reimagining the future of philanthropy—a future that relies just as much on company time, resources, and cachet as on company money.