Goldman Foundation Gives Away At Least a Whopping 5% of Its Assets Each Year

SOMEBODY'S WATCHING YOUIsn’t that anticlimactic? The Goldman Foundation is one of the ten largest corporate foundations in the U.S., in terms of assets, according to the Times. But they don’t even make the top 50 list in terms of giving. With assets of $404 million, in 2008, it gave away $22 million-and the amount of trading the firm did on its Foundation account is out of this world (resulting in, naturally, a loss, though that’ll turn around this year). Similarly? The Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund, for 2007, had assets of $431 million and gave $79 million (that’s about 16%, in terms of giving v. assets). How does this stack up?

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation is the top corporate foundation when ranked by charitable giving-but it doesn’t even show up on the top 50 largest corporate foundations in terms of asset size, because it serves as a money funnel and only retains assets of $18 million.

Similarly, the Wal-Mart Foundation retained assets of $4,402,583 but gave, in 2008, $110,895,707.

The Wells Fargo Foundation had assets of $315 million in 2008 and gave $66 million. That’s a disbursement rate of 20% of assets.

The biggest corporate foundation, in terms of assets, is The Alcoa Foundation, which gives $28,327,647, and has assets of $591,063,051. (That’s something like 21%, right math-doers? Give or take.)

For a non-corporate comparison, the Ford Foundation, which has, um, $11 billion in assets, disbursed something like $540 million in 2008-which is also something close to 5%, compared to assets, just like Goldman Sachs! Yet it’s such a whopping amount of cash-and the goal of the Foundation is to exist and spread around cash forever, not to create corporate tax breaks-that it makes sense.