Employee Giving

Employee Giving

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



Each year, our employees donate thousands of hours to help to improve the health and well-being of communities around the world through programs such as MSD for Mothers, the MSD Fellowship for Global Health, and a range of volunteer activities, mission trips, and disaster relief efforts.

During 2016, in celebration of our 125th year, we challenged employees to build on the company’s legacy of service by volunteering a combined total of 125,000 hours in their communities. Our employees far surpassed this goal by volunteering a total of 214,862 hours. Those who helped achieve these numbers did so, in part, by taking advantage of our innovative global employee volunteerism policy.

“I am so very proud of our ongoing commitment to address global health through our spirit of invention and the many large and small ways we make our communities better.”

Dr. Julie Gerberding
Chief Patient Officer

Our corporate policy on volunteerism 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, employees in the U.S. and Puerto Rico are encouraged to participate in Partnership for Giving, our dollar-for-dollar matching gift program, and Dollars for Doers, a volunteer rewards program.



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.


Our innovative skills-based volunteer program is available to our employees in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The 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, more than 650 employees have registered on the site and over 76 projects have been completed or are under way, representing over 2,020 volunteer hours donated.


Through the Making Positive Choices initiative, employees from New Jersey and Pennsylvania volunteered to have a positive influence on the lives of underserved and at-risk children and young adults through the three programs offered and administered by Street Law, Inc.:

  • Community Works: Helping teens to prepare for participating 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

Throughout 2016, more than 75 employees contributed 723 volunteer hours, reaching more than 500 students in school and community settings.


Our company’s Pro Bono Legal Program has been serving the poor and disadvantaged for over 22 years. Our legal professionals have been nationally recognized 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 2016, 80 attorneys, paralegals and administrative associates, representing over 22 percent of the company’s legal professionals, provided approximately 1,126 hours of pro bono legal services.

Through collaboration among external partners, attorneys from other multinational pro bono programs, and local law firms, our international attorneys provided pro bono assistance in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and Russia.

The Tenancy Project 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 299 cases, providing pro bono legal assistance to low-income residents at risk of losing their housing.

Globally, more than 22 percent of our attorneys, paralegals and administrative associates provided pro bono legal services in 2016.

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 2016, 25 attorneys from our company’s Pro Bono Legal Program contributed to this organization’s ability to provide business legal services for 843 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. Throughout 2016, our attorneys and paralegals assisted VLJ in providing services to 234 clients.

Partnership for Giving

Partnership for Giving (P4G) is our company’s year-round matching gift program. P4G supports active 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 to that nonprofit, with an annual limit of two donations per eligible employee or volunteer team.



VOLUNTEER HOURS20122013201420152016
Employees who volunteered1NANANA9,42116,446
Percent of total company population2NANANA14%24%
Employees who used paid time off (PTO)3NANANA6,12314,376
Percent of total company populationNANANA9%21%
PTO hours1NANANA52,372187,818
Total recorded volunteer hours (TRVH)1NANA109,93280,585214,862
Ratio of PTO/TRVHNANANA65%87%
SkillShare Volunteer Program4NANANA1,500520
MSD Fellowship for Global HealthNANA12,14416,12015,080
Pro Bono LegalNANA3,2002,4001,126
Skilled volunteer hours as percentage of TRVHNANA8%25%8%
1. 2016 figures are based on employee self-recorded volunteer hours and volunteer hours communicated directly to the Office of Corporate Responsibility for certain countries. 2015 marked the first year in which volunteer hour reporting was 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 2016.
3. Figures based on estimated data.
4. Our skill-based volunteer program launched in 2015.
PARTNERSHIP FOR GIVING (P4G)20122013201420152016
Total contribution
(US$ in Millions)1
Number of organizations that benefited10,1727,6499,0387,1456,200
Number of employee/retiree participants14,57211,54410,3659,4008,200
1. Contributions through P4G include Foundation funds for direct giving and payroll deduction matching gifts, employee direct donations and payroll deduction funds, retiree direct donation and Dollars for Doers matching funds.