In a recent ranking of the top corporate donors in 2011, Goldman Sachs ranked No. 2 among all U.S. firms. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual Corporate Giving Survey, Goldman donated $337.1 million in both cash and products to charitable causes during the year, second only to Wal-Mart, which donated $344.4 million.
Goldman wasn't the only the bank among the top givers. Wells Fargo ranked No. 4 with $213.5 million, Bank of America ranked No. 6 with $208.4 million, JPMorgan Chase ranked No. 7 with $203 million, and Citi ranked No. 10 with $121.9 million.
In addition to besting its Wall Street peers in overall donations, Goldman also gave twice as much as a percentage of pretax profits. Goldman's donations represented 2.6 percent of its pretax profits, while Wells Fargo, JPMorgan, and Citi all gave about 1 percent of their respective pretax profits (BofA's percentage was not disclosed).
Indeed, despite Goldman's reputation as a bloodsucking mollusk, the Wall Street bank everybody loves to hate as of late does engage in some rather charitable activities. And one activity in particular that the firm and its employees are rather proud of is its 10,000 Women initiative, which aims to offer marketing, finance, accounting, business plan writing, and capital raising education to 10,000 underserved women across the globe.
The initiative began in 2008 and will last for five years. Currently, the initiative is educating women in 43 countries, including Afghanistan, Rwanda, China, Brazil, Egypt, and India. Among Goldman's academic partners in 10,000 Women are Wharton, Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Brown, Stanford, INSEAD, London Business School, and Oxford. (An organization called International Center for Research on Women recently completed a rather glowing independent assessment of 10,000 Women and published it on its website, icrw.org.)
As a side but related note, in Vault's recent Banking Survey, we asked more than 3,500 banking professionals to rank their deciding factors when choosing an employer from most important to least important. And most important, according survey respondents, was firm culture. Second most important was prestige. And third most important was compensation. Last on the list of factors (that is, the least important) was commitment to social responsibility and diversity. Second to last was work/life balance. Other factors survey respondents could rank included business outlook, projects/deals, location, and development and training.
As for Goldman's employees, their ranking of the same factors looked almost exactly like the overall ranking, with one exception. Work/life balance ranked as the least important factor, according to Goldman insiders, while commitment to social responsibility and diversity ranked as the second least important.
How America's Biggest Companies Give (Chronicle of Philanthropy)
Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Women (gs.com)
Evaluating the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative (icrw.org)
Wall Street Women Talk Diversity