2021 Insights and Key Findings from The Civic 50 Honorees

The Civic 50 honorees are companies with annual U.S. revenues of at least $1 billion and are selected based on four dimensions of their corporate citizenship and social impact programs – investment of resources, integration across business functions, institutionalization through policies and systems and impact measurement. In 2021, Points of Light introduced new questions in The Civic 50 survey to better understand companies’ progress on commitments to racial equity and their communities.

Below are initial key findings and insights from the 2021 honoree companies. A full report featuring benchmarking data stories from the honoree companies will be released later this year.

  • Decreased external volunteering and increased internal volunteering. Given the shutdown of in-person volunteering across almost the entire nonprofit sector during most of 2020, it’s not surprising that employees were unable to maintain the same levels of volunteering with external organizations/efforts. External volunteering dropped from 43% of employees participating from The Civic 50 2020 honorees to 23% among the 2021 honorees. Some of this decline, however, was offset by an increase in volunteering that was internal to the company’s citizenship efforts: this type of volunteering increased from 42% to 48% of employees from the 2020 to the 2021 honoree companies.   
  • Executives led the way in community engagement. Despite a dizzying number of challenges in 2020 – from shutting operations entirely to restarting with never-seen safety protocols to raising capital to meet payroll – the leadership of The Civic 50 2021 honorees still found time to care for their communities. Executives at 74% of the companies participated in community engagement activities at least 12 times during the year (similar to 70% among the 2020 honorees). Furthermore, community engagement remained important enough in 2020 for it to appear on the agenda of board of director meetings: 84% of 2021 honorees discussed community engagement with their boards (among the 2020 honorees, 82% did).  
  • Increased giving. Despite facing an economic crisis of historic proportions, the 2021 honorees actually increased their total monetary giving relative to the 2020 honorees from $2.1 to $2.5 billion and their total in-kind giving from $5.6 to $8.2 billion. As a percentage of revenue, the 2021 honorees combined monetary and in-kind giving is more than twice than the average for US companies (per 2019 CECP data).  
  • Uptick in integration of community engagement with employee health and wellness. 58% of the 2021 honorees have employee health and wellness as a top-six business benefit that the community engagement pursues, up from 50% among the 2020 honorees. 
  • Active civic engagement. All of the 2021 honorees supported voting and civic engagement initiatives for employees or customers. Most notably, 88% of honoree companies gave employees time off or schedule flexibility to vote, 78% provided voting and registration information to their employees and 72% held educational events or town halls.

In 2021, Points of Light introduced new questions in The Civic 50 survey to better understand companies’ progress on commitments to racial equity and their communities.

  • CEO voice used to address racial equity. The overwhelming majority (92%) of 2021 honoree company CEOs used their voice externally and all (100%) used their voice internally this past year on the issue of racial equity.
  • Diversity of vendors and nonprofit partners evaluated. The vast majority (94%) of 2021 honorees have formal supplier diversity programs with written strategies to promote a more diverse, equitable and inclusive company culture and 78% of these companies have consistent application of these programs across the United States. Additionally, the majority (78%) of 2021 honorees formally consider diversity demographics of nonprofits when selecting which to support.  
  • Increased focus on racial justice and equity. The majority (52%) of 2021 honorees have made racial justice (human/civil rights, equality, equity and inclusion) a top-five cause in their community engagement. This is up from 24% when compared to the 2020 honoree companies. 
  • Broad advocacy activities used to advance racial equity. The 2021 honorees used a wide array of external tactics and strategies to address issues of racial inequity and injustice. Beyond issuing public statements, the vast majority of honoree companies also supported related community organizations and coalitions (86%), launched education and awareness campaigns (86%), funded advocacy organizations (82%) and conducted or supported research initiatives (68%). Additionally, 36% of companies also used lobbying efforts nearly a quarter (22%) participated in public hearings or testimonies relating to racial equity.  
  • Racial equity programs implemented and trackedAlmost all (98%) 2021 honorees offer racial equity training to employees (e.g., unconscious bias training) and 62% have delivered it to at least 75% of their workforce in the United States. The majority (60%) of 2021 honorees also track business outcome metrics (e.g., their impact on employee engagement and retention) of their programs that promote a more diverse, equitable and inclusive company culture.

Learn more about The Civic 50 and view the 2021 honoree announcement.