Wells Fargo galloped ahead of Wal-Mart in corporate giving in 2012

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. topped the ranks of corporate giving in 2012, climbing ahead of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., according to a new survey of 100 companies released Sunday by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Wells Fargo gave away $315.8 million in cash last year, according to the survey, "increasing its giving to support a new program that provides down-payment assistance to home buyers in neighborhoods with high foreclosure rates."


That company's donations were up 47.9% from 2011, enough to propel the nation's fourth-largest bank in terms of assets ahead of Wal-Mart.

The figure for Wells Fargo's donations don't include $6.6 million that the company's brokerage firm agreed to pay to settle federal civil charges that it failed to adequately inform investors about the risks tied to mortgage securities it sold. Wells Fargo didn't admit or deny wrongdoing related to the settlement.

Wal-Mart had led U.S. corporate giving in each of the previous seven years, the Chronicle said. The $311.6 million it gave in 2012 was down 9% from 2011.

Rounding out the top five corporate givers were San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron Corp. ($262.4 million, up 25%), New York-based Goldman Sachs Group ($243.1 million, down 28.4%), and Irvine, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. ($213.4 million, down 8.3%).

Other California companies on the list were: No. 10 Google, based in Mountain View, with $144.6 million; and No. 13  Intel Corp., based in Santa Clara, with $104.9 million.

Also on the list: San Jose-based Cisco Systems, No. 40 with $44.9 million; San Francisco-based utility company PG&E, No. 59 with $13.4 million; and Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway, No. 61 with $22.1 million.