Philip Morris International (PMI) supports charitable giving programs that improve living conditions in places our employees reside and work, as well as in the farming communities where we source our tobacco.
We have identified five areas of giving that we focus on: hunger and extreme poverty, education, rural living conditions, domestic violence, and disaster relief. These areas parallel many of the UN Millennium Development Goals, and we have chosen to focus on them because they are among the most critical issues affecting the countries where we operate.
Discover a selection of some of our programs around the world.
A Culture of Giving
More than 40 years ago, long before corporate social responsibility became a catchphrase, our predecessors at Philip Morris Companies were granting money to causes they held dear. We have given hundreds of millions of dollars to the arts, including building space for the Whitney Museum in our New York headquarters, the first time a corporation ever included a museum in its offices. As our company started to expand internationally, our giving became increasingly global. We were also in the front lines of the battle against domestic violence when we organized the first U.S. corporate conference on partner abuse in 1996.
PMI has continued to maintain this dedication to philanthropy since becoming an independent entity in 2008. We created a dedicated contributions department and selected focus areas that we believe address the most pressing needs of people around the globe. Of course, we have critics. We cannot do much about those who accuse us of trading philanthropy for goodwill. All we can do is to keep on working to improve people’s lives, trusting that our actions and history speak for themselves.
Today, PMI provides over $30 million annually to support charitable causes around the world. In 2011 we supported 274 charitable projects across 58 countries. In total more than 3.5 million people were impacted globally by PMI charitable giving, including: meals and medical assistance to nearly 1,1 million people; educational programs for approx. 200,000 students and teachers; requalification, new jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities created for nearly 145,000 people; support to more than 200,000 people with disabilities; counseling and shelter for around 26,000 victims of domestic violence; 22 million trees planted and support provided to over 700,000 people through our forestry and rural living programs; clean water and sanitation provided to more than 300,000 people, and new homes, shelters, and community centers provided for more than 850,000 people.
Getting Involved on the Ground
We select and manage our programs ourselves, working directly with local NGOs. The process starts with the recommendations of our employees, who we feel are best placed to recognize their communities’ needs. Of course, it would be easier to write a check and let an international charity take care of the details. We prefer to know where the money is going, and to follow the results on the ground.
This hands-on involvement has other benefits. We expect our partner NGOs to meet strict international standards for grant requests and project evaluation, thereby building their capacity to obtain funds from other sources. Also, our employees often volunteer on projects and help improve the state of their communities.
Our direct engagement in every project we fund makes it particularly satisfying when we receive positive feedback from beneficiaries such as Marina Firsova, an educational director in Moscow who took part in a PMI funded teacher training program. “It is truly exciting that there are people in our business community who understand their responsibility for the future of this country,” she says.
How Does it Work?
We manage our philanthropy efforts like a business, practically and effectively. We have an in-house department that is dedicated solely to handling our charitable giving. Each year we establish an overall budget, which we allocate to countries around the globe based on our focus giving areas and requests from our in-country organizations. Local charities and not-for-profit organizations apply for funding through our in-country teams.
We oversee each project and measure its results. One advantage of being a global corporation is that we can apply the lessons of one country to another. For example, when members of our contributions department learned of an organic method for increasing rice yields during a visit to Indonesia, they introduced it to our partners in the Philippines, who subsequently adopted it.
As part of our grant request form, each applicant must provide a line-by-line breakdown of a project’s budget. We want to know the rationale for each project and how many people will benefit. We also require a sustainability plan, as we want to ensure that a project will live on once our funding stops.