Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) has no obligation to contribute to charitable causes or to give a single dime, any in-kind donations, or a even a minute of employee time to those in need. However, the world’s biggest retailer does do those things. In 2016 it contributed more than $1.4 billion in cash and in-kind gifts (donations of goods and services) to various causes, according to the company’s 2016 Giving Report [opens in PDF]. In addition Wal-Mart employees (associates in company lingo) “contributed more than 1.25 million hours of their time outside of work to volunteer causes.”
Less than a third of the company’s total giving actually comes in the form of cash (over $300 million), but Wal-Mart, which does not have the same reputation for being charitable as Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) or Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL), perhaps deserves to be viewed differently. Of course, Wal-Mart does top the Global Fortune 500, which measures total revenue, with $482 billion in 2015.