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Employee Giving & 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 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. Employee volunteers also complement the support we provide to organizations through our Neighbor of Choice community grants program. We believe that providing opportunities for our employees to “give back” also enhances employee engagement and productivity.

Our corporate policy on volunteerism provides employees worldwide 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.


We are committed to helping facilitate industry engagement and to identifying innovative ways to have a positive impact on people’s lives around the world, while also achieving our company’s business objectives. This includes offering opportunities to leverage human capital support through employee volunteerism.

As part of this commitment, in 2018, our company joined IMPACT2030—a private-sector-led initiative, carried out in collaboration with the United Nations, the social and public sectors and academia, designed to activate human capital investments through employee volunteer programs to advance the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Our employees undertake various volunteer activities globally that support a number of the SDGs. One example includes volunteer support for Swim Across America. In addition to funding support provided by our company to Swim Across America, in 2018, 39 employees recorded 587 volunteer hours in support of the organization.

We also became a member of the Global Corporate Volunteer Council (GCVC), an initiative of the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE). The GCVC highlights both proven and promising practices in corporate volunteering while raising awareness of how companies are addressing critical human, social, environmental and economic challenges throughout the world.

In 2018, the MSD Fellowship for Global Health was recognized with an Honorary Mention from the IMPACT 2030 Awards and also by the IAVE with their Inspiring Practice Award.


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. Teams of highly skilled Fellows, who are passionate about our company’s mission to save and improve lives around the world, are assigned to NGO partners to help build their capacity.

Bridget Brady receives an enthusiastic and genuine welcome from young girls in a village near Toubakouta, Senegal, where she spent three months working with the Africa Resource Center on a public health supply chain project as part of the MSD Fellowship for Global Health.
Bridget Brady receives an enthusiastic and genuine welcome from young girls in a village near Toubakouta, Senegal, where she spent three months working with the Africa Resource Center on a public health supply chain project as part of the MSD Fellowship for Global Health.

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. Whether volunteering for a one-hour phone consultation or a 30-hour project, employees have the opportunity to provide meaningful volunteer support for nonprofits in need, while using and developing their professional skills. This program is available to our employees in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Our employees find these projects to be enjoyable and gratifying experiences that can enhance their individual skill sets. Since its launch in 2015, more than 733 employees have registered on the site and over 102 projects have been completed or are under way, representing over 2,352 volunteer hours donated.

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

Led by our company’s Legal department, more than 100 employees contributed 1,400 volunteer hours through this program in 2018, reaching more than 600 students in school and community settings. In April 2019, our company received Street Law’s 2019 “Excellence in Service Award” for our contributions to Making Positive Choices and our Legal Diversity Pipeline program.

Pro Bono Legal Program
Our company’s Pro Bono Legal Program has been serving the poor and disadvantaged for nearly 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 2018, 133 attorneys, paralegals and administrative associates provided approximately 3,000 hours of pro bono legal services.

Although pro bono work is less common outside the United States, our international attorneys provided more than 20 hours of pro bono assistance overseas, through collaboration with external partners, attorneys from other multinational pro bono programs, and local law firms.

One example is our partnership with Legal Services of New Jersey to help qualified victims of domestic violence seek immigration relief through the filing of applications to obtain U Visas. U Visas are available for victims of certain violent crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. In 2018, 12 of our lawyers or staff volunteered over 100 hours to file U Visa applications for five different clients.

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.


Employees who volunteered1 NA 9,381 16,446 6,560 6,557
Percent of total company population2NA 14% 24% 10% 10%
Employees who used paid time off (PTO)3NA 6,123 14,376 4,870 4,795
Percent of total company populationNA 9% 21% 7% 7%
PTO hours1NA 52,372 187,818 67,239 54,148
Total recorded volunteer hours (TRVH)1109,932 80,585 214,862 114,903 114,393
Ratio of PTO/TRVHNA 65% 87% 58% 47%
Skilled volunteer hours as percentage of TRVH8% 25% 8% 17% 16%
SkillShare Volunteer Program4 – Volunteer Hours NA 1,500 520 96 236
MSD Fellowship for Global Health – Volunteer Hours12,144 16,120 15,080 15,080 15,080
Pro Bono Legal Program – Volunteer Hours3,200 2,400 1,126 4,292 3,001
NA: Not Available.
1 2018 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 66,000 in 2018.
3 Figures based on estimated data.
4Our skill-based volunteer program launched in 2015. This figure reflects total recorded hours.
PARTNERSHIP FOR GIVING (P4G)2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Total contribution (in millions)1$26 $21 $26 $25 $22
Number of organizations that benefited29,038 7,145 6,200 8,770 7,350
Number of employee/retiree participants310,365 9,400 8,200 8,302 6,503
1 Total 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.
2 Includes organizations receiving funds through the P4G Direct Match and Dollars for Doers programs.
3 Includes active employee participants in the P4G Direct Match program and retiree participants submitting requests for 2017 donations. Effective January 1, 2018 the P4G program was limited to active employees, resulting in a reduction in participant numbers.