Supporting Our Communities

We aspire to have a positive effect on the communities in which we operate worldwide.

  • During 2019, our company provided nearly $17 million in financial and product donations to support disaster preparedness and response efforts across the globe
  • During 2019, we partnered with INROADS to launch INROADS College Links in Newark, New Jersey, a program for high school students embarking on a year-long journey of growth and development in the business and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields of study
  • In 2019, we became a Year Up corporate partner. Year Up’s mission is to close the opportunity divide by ensuring that young adults gain the skills, experiences, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through careers and higher education.


We recognize that our company’s success depends in large part on our relationships and interactions with local communities, including community leaders, nonprofit organizations, local businesses, schools, elected officials and local media.

The communities where we operate are home to our workforce as well as many of our suppliers. It is critical to understand the concerns and needs of our communities and address local challenges so that we can help build stronger communities and support the sustainability of our business.

We contribute to the economy of local communities directly and indirectly, through employment, training, support of local suppliers, local research and development (R&D) and paying taxes. We also strive to have a positive impact on communities by protecting the environment, maintaining safe operations and respecting human rights.

Our community engagement programs aim to strengthen communities where our employees live and work by helping address critical health and social needs.

Our COVID-19 response

The start of 2020 has brought unprecedented challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, and as of August 2020 our company has contributed and committed more than $30 million in financial, product and equipment donations to help support the global response. As part of this effort, our company partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and several other organizations to launch the Save Small Business Fund, a grant program to provide financial assistance to small business owners impacted by the pandemic.

Read more about our response to COVID-19.

Programs and initiatives

Neighbor of Choice

Our Neighbor of Choice (NOC) grant program supports the work of local nonprofit organizations dedicated to promoting the wellbeing of community residents. Managed by our company’s Office of Corporate Responsibility, the NOC program is based in communities where we have a presence.

Our company’s financial resources as well as our employees’ volunteerism support community efforts to improve the quality of health care and increase access to care for underserved populations living with Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS or who are pregnant or have recently given birth.

Our commitment to reduce health disparities, strengthen local health systems and protect the environment supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Throughout 2019, our company invited nonprofit organizations in 19 communities in which we have a major presence to apply for funding support. Factors that determine our local sites’ participation in the NOC program include whether we have a major presence, the number of employees at the site, and community need.

Learn more about our Neighbor of Choice program.

Disaster relief

Our company is committed to supporting communities around the world that are affected by natural disasters. We look to local authorities and humanitarian relief agencies to first assess need and then respond in a timely, coordinated manner. We provide aid through financial and product donations to meet the immediate needs of affected communities.

Where appropriate, and in consultation with our company’s local management, we donate medicines and vaccines through the disaster and emergency relief component of our company’s Medical Outreach Program. In major disaster situations, a local subsidiary or manufacturing facility may donate our medicines directly.

During 2019, our company provided nearly $17 million in financial and product donations to support disaster preparedness and response efforts across the globe.

For example, we aided the relief efforts following Cyclone Idai, one of the deadliest storms on record in the southern hemisphere, and Hurricane Dorian, the most intense tropical cyclone on record to strike the Bahamas.

In early 2020 we responded to the devastating wildfires in Australia and the 6.4 magnitude earthquake in Puerto Rico with more than $450,000 in financial and product donations.

Matching gift program

We are proud of our company’s Partnership for Giving (P4G) year-round matching gift program. P4G supports employees in the U.S. and Puerto Rico through matching funds that double employee donations to causes that are important to them. Through a dollar-for-dollar match of employee contributions to eligible organizations, our company’s Foundation supports nonprofits that help to promote a healthier society, advance education, foster the arts, address the welfare of animals and preserve the environment.

Our company’s Foundation also funds our Dollars for Doers program that matches volunteer hours with a cash contribution. Employees in the U.S. and Puerto Rico investing 40 hours or more of service with an eligible nonprofit organization can apply for a $500 contribution to that nonprofit, with an annual limit of two donations per eligible employee or volunteer team.

Employee volunteering

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 improve the health and wellbeing of communities around the world through a range of volunteer activities.

MSD Fellowship for Global Health
Our mission to save and improve lives underpins the idea behind the MSD Fellowship for Global Health.

The MSD Fellowship for Global Health is a three-month, immersive corporate pro bono program designed to leverage the skills and talents of our employees worldwide. The company continually seeks innovative ways to increase access to health around the world while also growing and developing our talent. The MSD Fellowship for Global Health is one way that we can accomplish both objectives.

Teams of highly skilled Fellows, who are passionate about our company’s mission to save and improve lives around the world, are assigned to non-governmental organization (NGO) partners to help build their capacity and provide increased access to health services and education in the communities they serve. In turn, the Fellows bring back experiences that contribute to our company’s future success and our ability to deliver innovative health solutions to patients and customers around the world.

Learn more about how our Fellows are helping communities.

Skills-based volunteer program
Our 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. The program expands opportunities for employees to grow and develop, while giving back to the community.

Pro bono legal program
Our company’s pro bono legal program has been serving the poor and disadvantaged for 25 years and is led by our Legal department. The program provides opportunities for our legal professionals to provide their expertise, free of charge, to members of the community that would otherwise be unable to access legal advice on a range of issues including family law, veterans’ affairs, child advocacy and others. Throughout 2019, 151 attorneys, paralegals and administrative associates provided approximately 3,090 hours of pro bono legal services.

Although pro bono work is less common outside the United States, our international attorneys provided more than 370 hours of pro bono assistance overseas, through collaboration with external partners, attorneys from other multinational pro bono programs, and local law firms.

Supporting young people in our communities

Our company is involved in local programs to positively influence children and young adults.

Making Positive Choices
Through the Making Positive Choices initiative, 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.:

  • Community Works: Helping teens prepare to participate 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 in navigating community resources to help them live independently

Our company collaborated with INROADS, an international nonprofit organization that prepares talented, diverse youth for corporate and community leadership. During 2019, we partnered with INROADS to launch INROAD College Links in Newark, New Jersey, a program for high school students embarking on a year-long journey of growth and development in the business and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields of study. Students attending the program had the opportunity to hear from company leaders on topics such as the importance of networking, mentoring and having a sponsor and to explore career opportunities at the company.

Year Up
In 2019, we became a Year Up corporate partner. Year Up’s mission is to close the opportunity divide by ensuring that young adults gain the skills, experiences, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through careers and higher education. This partnership allows our company to access a diverse pool of intern candidates that we may not otherwise reach with traditional recruitment channels. To date, we have hosted three cohorts of interns placed in roles across the organization.

Performance data

Community contributions20152016201720182019
Human Health Services$2,690,459$2,721,534$7,086,446$3,632,776$3,140,363
Disaster relief20152016201720182019
Total giving value of disaster relief contributions (cash and products, in millions)1$5.6$13.4$23.9$10.2$16.7
Neighbor of Choice20152016201720182019
Amount contributed (in millions)2$2.5$3.1$3.1$3.1$3.1
Number of people reached globally3NANA221,328191,138293,471
Number of employees who volunteered with grantees3NANA2,5112,2991,594
Employee giving summary volunteering20152016201720182019
Employees who volunteered49,38116,4466,5606,55714,395
Percent of total company population514%24%10%10%15%
Employees who used paid time off (PTO)66,12314,3764,8704,7957,301
Percent of total company population9%21%7%7%11%
PTO hours452,372187,81867,23954,14866,657
Total recorded volunteer hours (TRVH)480,585214,862114,903114,393136,014
Ratio of PTO/TRVH65%87%58%47%49%
Skilled volunteer hours as percentage of TRVH25%8%17%16%15%
SkillShare Volunteer Program7 – Volunteer Hours1,50052096236357
MSD Fellowship for Global Health – Volunteer Hours16,12015,08015,08015,08016,640
Pro Bono Legal Program – Volunteer Hours2,4001,1264,2923,0013,090
Partnership for Giving (P4G) 20152016201720182019
Total contribution (in millions)8$21$26$25$22$15.1
Number of organizations that benefited97,1456,2008,7707,3505,645
Number of employee participants109,4008,2008,3026,5035,083
NA: Not Available
1We set the value of our product donations based on the U.S. wholesale acquisition cost.
2Data includes funding provided through the Office of Corporate Responsibility and our company’s Foundation. Additional funding is provided through local U.S. sites and our company sites outside the United States that we do not track centrally.
3Beginning in 2017, we estimate the number of beneficiaries receiving funding through the NOC program and the number of employees who volunteered with NOC grantees. The 2019 figures include data received from local sites as of April 2020.
42019 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.
5Company population figures are based on an estimated workforce of approximately 69,000 in 2019.
6Figures based on estimated data.
7Our skill-based volunteer program launched in 2015. This figure reflects total recorded hours.
8Total contribution includes Foundation matching funds for Dollars for Doers and P4G programs, 2018 active employee participant funds donated through the P4G Direct Giving program and 2017 retiree donations matched in Q1 and Q2 of 2018. Retiree participation in the P4G program was discontinued as of January 1, 2018.
9Includes organizations receiving funds through the P4G Direct Match and Dollars for Doers programs.
10Includes active employee participants in the P4G Direct Match program. Effective January 1, 2018 the P4G program was limited to active employees, resulting in a reduction in participant numbers.