Liberty Mutual, already one of the largest supporters of nonprofits and community groups in the Boston area, said it will significantly increase its charitable giving in Massachusetts this year, outpacing many other major financial services firms in the region.
Liberty, the sole Fortune 100 company based in Boston, said it will increase its local donations by about 20 percent to $17 million from $14.2 million last year. Several other firms with large operations here, such as Bank of America and John Hancock Financial Services, said they will keep their local charitable giving at about the same levels as 2011.
A key reason for Liberty Mutual’s increase in local contributions is the renewal of its sponsorship of the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular with a three-year, $8 million deal. The company also donated $1 million in the form of nonprofit grants and sponsorships, such as one for a series of public concerts in Boston, to promote the company’s 100th anniversary this year. Finally, Liberty Mutual increased the size of its annual philanthropic budget, which supports more than 150 nonprofits a year, by $1 million to $8.6 million.
“We care deeply about the community,” said Melissa MacDonnell, director of Liberty Mutual’s philanthropy programs. “We were born here 100 years ago, and we’ve grown to become an international company in 27 countries.”
Eastern Bank, the largest community bank based in Massachusetts, expects to increase its charitable giving locally to $4 million from $3.8 million last year and $2.7 million in 2010. Most of the company’s giving — split into hundreds of smaller grants — is earmarked for nonprofits focused on human services, families and children, and education.
In Massachusetts, many of the biggest corporate donors have long been financial institutions like banks, insurance companies, and asset managers. Bank of America, the largest retail bank in the state, said it plans to give $12 million to local nonprofits, the same amount it has given in previous years.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank is still coping with billions of dollars in losses from its ill-fated purchase of Countrywide, once the country’s largest mortgage lender, four years ago. But despite the challenges, the company has remained a key supporter of the arts, affordable housing, leadership development, and other causes.
John Hancock, the US subsidiary of Canadian insurance giant Manulife Financial Services, said it expects to give nonprofits about $11.5 million locally this year, about the same as last year. Much of John Hancock’s support is tied to its annual sponsorship of the Boston Marathon. The 2012 totals include an estimated $6.8 million raised by more than 1,000 charity runners who received bibs through John Hancock, but does not include the $4.5 million John Hancock spent to sponsor the race.
The charitable foundation for State Street Corp., the biggest custodial bank based in Boston, plans to give local groups about $10.5 million, about the same amount it gave last year and just slightly less than the $11 million it gave in 2010. The foundation focuses on supporting education and workforce development, including $2 million donated last year to nonprofits for work with the Boston Public Schools.
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. of Springfield gave $6.4 million last year and plans to give a similar amount this year and next year. Most of MassMutual’s giving is focused on community and cultural events, economic development, and education, and concentrated in Springfield and Enfield, Conn, where the company has many of its employees.
Citizens Bank, the second largest retail bank in the state, gave local charities $4.1 million last year, down slightly from $4.5 million in 2010. A Citizens spokesman said giving could be down again this year because of the weak economy. The bank focuses its giving on community development, housing, and other basic needs.
TD Bank and its foundation gave local groups about $2.1 million in each of the last two years and expects to give a similar amount this year. Much of the money goes to nonprofit grants to support financial literacy, education and the environment.
Fidelity Investments, Sovereign Bank, and Putnam Investments, all based in Boston, declined to provide figures on charitable giving, as did Sun Life Financial of Toronto, which has its US headquarters in Wellesley.