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Philanthropy Overview

We strive to find sustainable solutions to key global health challenges and to strengthen communities where our employees live and work.



Philanthropy is an important component of our company’s commitment to corporate responsibility and is a visible demonstration of our efforts to improve access to health and to enhance the quality of life in communities where we have a presence.

The company’s Office of Corporate Responsibility provides cash and product donations, and also coordinates employee volunteerism and disaster-relief assistance. Our company’s Foundation funds qualified, eligible nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.

Pie chart of total philanthropic giving in 2018 – product donations $2.7B, cash grants and contributions $84M, skills-based volunteering $3.1M


Through our philanthropic programs, we also demonstrate our commitment to advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, this commitment focuses on SDG 3—ensuring health and well-being for all—as well as SDG 17, which emphasizes strong global partnerships and cooperation.

Our company and Foundation support an array of innovative programs and partnerships to help improve the health and well-being of people around the world.

Guiding principles

Several key principles guide our philanthropic investments and program portfolio.

  • Address critical global health needs where we can have a meaningful impact
  • Collaborate with key partners to optimize our effectiveness
  • Leverage not only cash and product donations but also expertise and capabilities across our company

Giving priorities

Our giving priorities strengthen the effectiveness and impact of our company’s philanthropy by focusing on areas of global health need in which we have substantial expertise and capability. We also focus on strengthening the communities in which we operate around the world.

We work to reduce health disparities and improve access to health for people in underserved communities, especially those living with Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS—areas where there are specific health challenges that have relevance to our company. Through our program investments, we aim to support evidence-based interventions that strengthen health systems to deliver high-quality care, foster innovation in the delivery of health care and empower patients to better manage their health by helping them overcome social and environmental barriers to care.

We help build stronger communities where our employees live and work. We contribute financial support through grants to local nonprofit organizations that address critical health needs and selected social issues in communities where we have a presence. We also share the expertise of our employees through volunteer programs globally.  Further, our company supports disaster relief efforts and preparedness assistance throughout the world.

Philanthropic governance

Our philanthropy must reflect efficient, responsible and ethical judgment and behavior. Consequently, our charitable contributions are periodically audited to ensure consistency in our giving criteria and grant-making, as well as adherence to compliance and transparency requirements. Additionally, our Foundation’s Board of Trustees comprises selected company senior executives and meets biannually to provide oversight and strategic direction for the Foundation’s program investments.

We manage our philanthropic programs in two ways:

  1. The Office of Corporate Responsibility supports charitable programs through cash and product donations and employee volunteerism. It also coordinates the company’s disaster relief assistance throughout the world.
  2. Our company’s Foundation, funded entirely by the company, serves as the chief source of funding support to qualified, eligible nonprofit charitable and philanthropic organizations whose initiatives address important societal needs and whose goals are consistent with our giving priorities.

We use an online grants management system that allows qualified, eligible nonprofit organizations seeking cash contributions to submit proposals and supporting documents electronically. The system also facilitates the submission of all required compliance documentation and helps ensure consistent review of grant requests.

We report the company’s charitable contributions and the Foundation’s grants on this website and update the information quarterly.


GRANTS & CONTRIBUTIONS2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Grants and contributions (total cash, in-kind and product) (in millions)$1,543 $1,820 $2,238 $2,722 $2,793
Cash grants and contributions (in millions)$111 $133 $117 $94 $84
Product donations through U.S. Patient Assistance Program (in millions)$433 $567 $798 $1,112 $1,242
Product donations for ex-U.S. programs and U.S. disaster relief (in millions)1$997 $1,117 $1,320 $1,513 $1,464
Valuation of employee volunteer time (in-kind, in millions)2$2.2 $2.9 $2.6 $3.2 $3.1
1 Includes our Medical Outreach Program (including U.S. disaster relief), the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships (2014-2016 only), the MECTIZAN® Donation Program, the GARDASIL® Access Program (2014 only), and MSD division and subsidiary donations.
2 Includes valuation of volunteer time for only those employees who participated in the MSD Fellowship for Global Health program and our company’s Pro Bono Legal and other skills-based volunteer programs.