The Most Charitable Private Brand Retailers in America

Every year retailers across the country run promotions that raise money for local and national charities ranging from the MDA to Hunger has a Cure as well as direct contributions to numerous worthy causes. More often than not Private Brand plays an integral part in these activities including Winn-Dixie raising money for veterans with Private brand bottled water and Delhaize banners selling boxes of Private Brand products to feed the hungry.

So it is no surprise that retailers score well in The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual survey on charitable giving by America’s largest companies. The Chronicle gathers data from companies that appear at the top of Fortune magazine’s list of the 500 companies with the most revenue.

The Chronicle sent questions to the 300 highest-ranking businesses on Fortune’s list, asking for figures for 2009, 2010, and 2011. The Chronicle’s analysis includes data for 180 companies, with 117 submitting their most recent information.

The Most Generous: Kroger
2010 Giving: $64,000,000
Percentage of 2009 Profits: 10.9%
Kroger, the largest grocery store chain in America, was the only corporation to give more that 10% of its previous year’s profits to charity in 2010. While its charitable giving efforts target the communities in which its stores operate through volunteering and donations, the Kroger Foundation supports national initiatives that go far beyond the company’s home base of Cincinnati.

At $64 million, the company’s significant giving in 2010 shows no signs of slowing down this year, as it has been an active participant in the Food 4 Less program to feed the hungry, and has also raised $1.5 million for military families and welcomed Salvation Army donation kettles into its stores this holiday season.

2nd Most Generous: Macy’s
2010 Giving: $41,226,887
Percentage of 2009 Profits: 8.1%
Having long ago made a name for itself around the holidays by sponsoring New York’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and making kids believe in Santa Claus again, Macy’s has also used the holiday shopping season to promote its various philanthropic efforts.

Part of the retailer’s more than $41 million in 2010 giving went to a new initiative that took its stores’ national efforts to the local level. By funding more than 1,200 grants to organizations in the communities where the giant retailer operates, Macy’s made itself seem a bit smaller to the local population, and its overall efforts made it the second-most generous corporation of 2010.

3rd Most Generous: Safeway
2010 Giving: $76,500,000
Percentage of 2009 Profits: 7.5%
In addition to the many charitable promotions that Safeway administers at the checkout line in its 1,694 stores in the U.S., the company was one of the most generous corporations in 2010, with donations equivalent to 7.5% of 2009’s profits. The company provided funds, volunteers and in-kind donations to popular causes such as the Easter Seals, Special Olympics, Muscular Dystrophy Association, and prostate and breast cancer initiatives.

The Biggest Donor: Walmart
2010 Giving: $319,454,996
2009 Giving: $288,091,839
Change: 10.9%
Topping the list for the overall biggest corporate donor in 2010 is Walmart, which has claimed that distinction for three years running. With more than $300 million given to local and national initiatives to combat hunger and promote local economic development in the communities in which it operates, the retail giant has worked hard to overcome their uncaring big box image. But a massive company should be capable of making massive contributions to the lives of struggling Americans, and the company’s philanthropy serves that purpose. This holiday season, Walmart is promoting charitable donation through its “12 Days of Giving” campaign, just one example of its continuing commitment to lead the pack in giving for 2011.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.