Big Oil is a Big Cheapskate to Charity

At the same time ExxonMobil's (XOM) record-breaking profits are making news, the company is running ads touting its philanthropic support for health and education programs in the U.S. and abroad. ExxonMobil's commercials were especially evident during the 2008 Summer Olympics, when 30- to 60-second spots costing hundreds of thousands of dollars attempted to convince viewers that the company's philanthropy is as deep and rich as its oil wells.

Unfortunately, such is not the case.

Annual donations by the Big Three oil companies as measured by a percent of pretax net income (the standard yardstick for gauging corporate philanthropy) are consistently below half the national average for businesses that make tax-deductible charitable contributions.

In 2007, these three oil giants donated a combined $348 million, far short of the $1 billion the companies would have contributed if they had simply given at a level equal to Corporate America's philanthropic midpoint, which is 8/10ths of 1%.

And that $348 million is a small fraction of the $27.9 billion in net income that the three companies earned just this last quarter!

[Excerpt of an article by Curt Weeden, BusinessWeek]

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