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Our Giving


Our Giving

Around the world, our employees take an active role in giving back to their communities through a variety of programs.

We are proud of our employees’ dedication to serving others. Our Global Volunteerism Policy provides employees with the opportunity to take up to 40 hours of paid time off annually to engage in volunteer activities that support eligible nonprofit organizations. Additionally, we offer a dollar-for-dollar matching gift program for active and retired employees in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and a “Dollars for Doers” volunteer rewards program, which provides contributions to eligible organizations, based on employee volunteer hours performed by active U.S. and Puerto Rico employees.


Each year, thousands of our employees volunteer during work hours and on their personal time to give back to their communities.

In celebration of our company’s 125th anniversary, employees have been challenged to reach a companywide goal of 125,000 recorded volunteer hours in 2016. Employees are being encouraged to seek volunteer opportunities with nonprofit organizations dedicated to the causes that mean the most to them.

“MSD Gives Back” is our internal, global employee engagement website offering information and access about our giving and volunteering programs. The website serves as a central location where employees can record volunteer hours and share volunteer experiences through photos and stories. The site continues to draw new and returning visitors at a significant rate, with 60 percent of over 26,000 visits in 2015 attributed to first-time access.

Skills-Based Volunteer Program

In 2015 we launched an innovative skills-based volunteer program in the U.S. The program offers employees in the U.S. and Puerto Rico access to high-impact volunteer opportunities while providing nonprofit partners with much-needed skilled assistance to help build capacity for their organization. This skills-based volunteer program offers employees the opportunity to donate their professional skills through virtual, short-term projects that provide important, capacity-building support for nonprofit organizations. Whether volunteering for a one-hour phone consultation or a 30-hour project, employees are given the opportunity to provide meaningful volunteer support for nonprofits in need, while using their professional skills in different and challenging environments.

Our employees find these projects to be enjoyable and gratifying experiences that provide opportunities to enhance their individual skill sets. Since its launch in 2015, almost 600 employees have registered on the site and over 55 projects have been completed or are underway, representing over 1,500 volunteer hours donated. Positive feedback received through completed project testimonials reflects nonprofits’ satisfaction with program results and an appreciation for the support provided.

MSD Fellowship for Global Health

The MSD Fellowship for Global Health is a three-month, field-based corporate pro bono program designed to leverage the skills and talents of our employees. It pairs employee skills with the needs of nonprofit partner organizations around the world to provide meaningful and systematic improvements in health service delivery for people in the greatest need. Learn more.

Making Positive Choices

Through the Making Positive Choices program, employees from New Jersey and Pennsylvania volunteer to have a positive influence on the lives of underserved and at-risk children and young adults through three programs offered and administered by Street Law, Inc. During 2015, more than 150 employees contributed 898 volunteer hours, reaching more than 500 students in school and community settings.

Volunteers were provided with training and support to enable their facilitation of three programs:

  • Community Works: helping teens to prepare youth for participation in their communities in a positive way
  • Career Exploration: preparing high school students to achieve academic and career goals
  • Youth in Transition: providing youth in the foster care system with instruction in basic life skills and guidance to navigate community resources to help them live independently

Pro Bono Legal Program

Our company’s Pro Bono Legal Program has been serving the poor and disadvantaged for over 21 years. Our legal professionals have been nationally recognized1 for their commitment to providing pro bono assistance in areas such as guardianship, domestic violence, family law, child advocacy, Social Security disability benefits, veterans’ affairs, and bankruptcy, as well as legal support for nonprofit organizations.

During 2015, more than 140 attorneys, paralegals and administrative associates, representing over 50 percent of the company’s legal professionals, provided approximately 2,400 hours of pro bono legal services.

Our international attorneys, through a collaboration among external partners, attorneys from other multinational pro bono programs and local law firms, provided pro bono assistance in Bangladesh, Chile, India, Nigeria, Peru, Tanzania and Uganda, and Nepal. Our 2015 Pro Bono Legal Program included participation by 23 attorneys in 12 countries outside the U.S.

The Veterans Justice Initiative and the Landlord-Tenant Program of the Legal Services of Northwest Jersey, Inc. (LSNWJ), provides legal assistance to low-income and vulnerable residents in meeting the basic needs essential to self-sufficiency. Our legal professionals, in collaboration with LSNWJ, outside counsel and other corporations, completed 271 cases, providing pro bono legal assistance to displaced or transitioning veterans and to low-income residents at risk of losing their housing.

More than 50 percent of our attorneys, paralegals and administrative associates have provided pro bono legal services.

The The Pro Bono Partnership, a nationally-recognized organization, provides free business and transactional legal services to help nonprofits in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut achieve their goals, avoid risk, and better serve their constituencies. In 2015, fifteen attorneys from our company’s Pro Bono Legal Program contributed to this organization’s ability to provide business legal services for 693 nonprofit organizations.

Volunteer Lawyers for Justice (VLJ) relies on the talents and resources of volunteers to provide free legal services to low income individuals and families. Since 2009, our company has partnered with VLJ to provide pro bono legal services to low-income individuals and families seeking debt relief, and throughout 2015, our attorney’s and paralegals assisted VLJ in providing consumer-law counseling to 39 bankruptcy clients.

1 In 2013, the company’s executive vice president & general counsel and the Pro Bono volunteers received the Pro Bono Institute’s Laurie D. Zelon Award for their outstanding commitment to pro bono service.
Partnership for Giving

Partnership for Giving

The Partnership for Giving (P4G) is our company’s year-round matching gift program. P4G supports active and retired employees in the U.S. and Puerto Rico who donate to causes that are important to them. Contributions to eligible organizations are matched dollar-for-dollar by our company’s Foundation in support of nonprofits that help to promote a healthier society, advance education, foster the arts, address the welfare of animals and preserve the environment.

As volunteers for nonprofit organizations, active employees in the U.S. and Puerto Rico can have their volunteer hours matched by a cash contribution. Through the Dollars for Doers program, funded by our company’s Foundation, employees investing 40 hours or more of service with an eligible organization can apply for a $500 contribution for that nonprofit, with an annual limit of two donations per eligible employee or volunteer team.

Touched by an Agency

Throughout 2015, employees shared their personal stories in recognition of and gratitude for nonprofit organizations that have made a difference in their lives or the lives of a family member. Through the Touched by an Agency program, employees were invited to nominate nonprofit agencies to receive a $1,000 donation as a “thank you” for their valued service. The 2015 Touched by an Agency program provided donations totaling $17,000.

Employee Giving Summary
Volunteer Hours20112012201320142015
Employees who volunteered19,60512,333NA8,6679,381
Percent of total company population211.0%15.0%NA12.5%13.8%
Employees who used paid time off8,0589,732NA6,240NA
Percent of total company population9.5%12.0%NA9.0%NA
PTO hours1130,900142,082NA111,80052,372
Total recorded volunteer hours (TRVH)1213,000221,050NA186,40080,585
Ratio of PTO/TRVH61%64%NA60%65%
Merck SkillShare3NANANANA1,500
MSD Fellowship for Global HealthNANANA12,14416,120
Pro Bono LegalNANANA3,2002,400
Skilled volunteer hour as percentage of TRVHNANANA8.2%25.3%
1 2015 figures are based on employee self-recorded volunteer hours through MSD Gives Back in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and volunteer hours communicated directly to the Office of Corporate Responsibility for other countries. 2015 marks the first year in which volunteer-hour reporting is based solely on employee self-reporting. Prior years included estimates for unrecorded volunteer hours.
2 Company population figures are based on an estimated workforce of approximately 68,000 in 2015.
3Our skill-based volunteer program launched in 2015.

In prior years, employee volunteer hours were reported using estimated hours. Beginning in 2015, we will no longer report estimated hours due to the planned implementation of an enhanced online system providing global access to our employees for reporting purposes.

Partnership for Giving (P4G)20112012201320142015
Total contribution (US$M)1$27$27$28$26$21
Number of organizations that benefited10,03710,1727,6499,0387,145
Number of employee/retiree participants16,20814,57211,54410,3659,400
Touched by an Agency grants21820121117
1Contributions through P4G include Foundation funds for direct giving and payroll deduction matching gifts, employee direct donations and payroll deduction funds, and Dollars for Doers matching funds.
2Total for 2015 reflects those organizations that provided completed documentation required to received a Touched by an Agency contribution.