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Financial sector has deep pockets for philanthropy: Report

A new philanthropic report finds that ASX-listed financial firms were among the largest donors that gave generously to the coronavirus and bushfire appeals.

An analysis by Strive Philanthropy found the largest ASX-listed companies pledged $1.1 billion to philanthropic efforts in 2020, which is 17% more than the prior year.

Thirty firms donated over $175 million to COVID-19 relief efforts, typically viral research and local communities, the 2020 GivingLarge Report found.

Mining companies BHP, Rio, Newcrest and South32 contributed a combined $100 million.

Macquarie Group gave $20 million via its foundation, while Woodside Energy set up a $10 million COVID-19 community fund.

As for the devasting bushfires that wreaked havoc in 2019-20, some 113 companies gave $145 million in total.

The big four banks made a combined $19 million donation for bushfire appeals. News Corp and Seven Group donated $5 million each.

The report calculated how much donations represented as a percentage of the company's pre-tax profit. Coles came out on top, donating $125 million in 2020 or 7.3% of its profit on a rolling three-year basis.

Commonwealth Bank led the pack among the banks, donating $70million or 0.7% of its profit.

BHP gave the largest dollar value in the list of $221 million.

Strive Philanthropy founder Jarrod Miles said the spike in giving in 2020 is warmly welcomed but won't be enough.

"Sustainable philanthropy is about a change in thinking, not just the rise in dollar donations. The good news of 2020 is that this change of thinking seems to be hardening and we can only hope will propel corporate philanthropy nicely into the decade," Miles said.

Read more: BHPRioStrive PhilanthropyColesCommonwealth BankGivingLarge ReportJarrod MilesMacquarie GroupNewcrestNews CorpSeven GroupWoodside Energy
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