We invest our company’s resources and knowledge to advance access to education and training, improve lives, and strengthen communities in which we live and work.
1 $270.5 million of 2020 philanthropic giving was provided by AT&T and $18 million was provided through the AT&T Foundation.
2 2016–2018 totals do not include AT&T operations in Latin America or WarnerMedia.
3 While we realized a 2020 decline in employee participation related to COVID-19 requirements for social distancing, average giving per employee donor remained at pre-pandemic levels, reflecting AT&T employees’ continued commitment and generosity.
4 2016–2017 totals do not include AT&T operations in Latin America or WarnerMedia. 2018–2020 totals do not include WarnerMedia.
5 The value of volunteer time was calculated in coordination with True Impact, considered a leader in volunteer-hour valuation.
6 Inclusive of AT&T Communications and Xandr. 2019–2020 totals also inclusive of WarnerMedia.
TOPIC: Employee Volunteerism & Giving
2030 TARGET: Engage 50% of our employees worldwide in communities through grassroots volunteerism and giving initiatives.
PROGRESS: Launched goal.
We set this goal in May 2021 and will begin reporting progress in 2022.
TOPIC: Disaster Prepardness & Recovery
2030 TARGET: Beyond emergency response and network disaster recovery, help 1 million people prepare for and recover from the impacts of disasters.
PROGRESS: Launched goal.
We set this goal in May 2021 and will begin reporting progress in 2022.
We’re committed to developing and supporting programs and initiatives that make a meaningful impact. AT&T philanthropic giving and community engagement efforts include initiatives that promote success in school, provide job skills training, drive innovation, empower women and underrepresented communities, and respond to worldwide disasters and emergencies. Our employees play an important role in community engagement, and we support them by providing tools, resources and opportunities to make a difference in communities where they live and work.
See our Building Digital Skills issue brief for more information on how we invest in education and job training to help develop a skilled, diverse workforce that can better prepare our company – and our country – for the future.
Philanthropy at AT&T
The Public Policy and Corporate Reputation Committee (PPCRC) of the AT&T Board of Directors oversees our policies for philanthropic giving, which include corporate contributions approved by the AT&T Contributions Council and grants approved by the AT&T Foundation. The Contributions Council and AT&T Foundation are composed of senior executives charged with the supervision of our philanthropic investments.
Funding areas for AT&T’s philanthropic giving include education; community support and safety; health and human services; and arts, media and culture. Generally, we fund programs that are designed to impact predominantly underserved, underrepresented or low-income communities. Qualifying organizations include:
- 501(c)(3) public charities
- Government instrumentalities (for charitable purposes)
- Organizations with philanthropic or social-purpose programs or efforts, whether organized as a 501(c)(3) charity or another non-profit entity
Charitable organizations are invited to apply for philanthropic funding through AT&T corporate contribution, AT&T Foundation grant managers, or our state External & Legislative Affairs teams. Organizations must detail how and where the funds will be used in their program plan and the number of individuals who will be served by the funding. AT&T tracks these programs throughout the funding cycle, and recipients are required to report results at the conclusion of the cycle.
Our philanthropic funding focuses on qualifying organizations, programs and projects that are based in, or strongly impact, geographic regions served by the company. Requests from organizations are evaluated based on:
- National or regional needs
- Alignment between the specific initiative and AT&T goals
- The qualifying organization’s ability to positively affect key community issues
- The qualifying organization’s innovation in addressing a target issue
- The extent to which the contribution can generate awareness for AT&T priorities and extend the impact of our work
For more information about governance of our philanthropy, see our philanthropy policy.
Employees in the Community
Our employees reflect our corporate culture, and their engagement is a key component of our approach to corporate community engagement efforts. Through a variety of corporate community engagement opportunities, employees can give time, money or other personal commitments to their communities. We offer company-sponsored activities and support to help individuals and teams with their community engagement efforts.
In 2020, we rebranded our community engagement platform – now called AT&T Community Engagement – and launched it to employees worldwide. The platform unites employee volunteerism and giving platforms previously housed across disparate sites and operating companies into a central hub. Here, all types of community engagement activities and communications engage and empower employees to make a positive impact in their community. In 2020, 43,941 employees, 40% of whom were new to Community Engagement, visited the site over 142,000 times to participate in efforts supporting COVID-19 relief, social equality, education, the environment, disaster relief, veterans, first responders, active military, community well-being and digital responsibility.
AT&T employees have a strong sense of community and want to get involved. By helping our employees support the causes they believe in, we can boost employee satisfaction and create a happier and healthier workplace. Internal research shows employees who participate in our community engagement programs are more likely to recommend AT&T as a great place to work, feel more empowered to make a difference at work and say they will stay with AT&T long term.
One way we encourage our employees to get involved in their community is through our enterprise-wide Community Impact Award. This honor is given to employees who embody the AT&T corporate value “Make a Difference.” In 2020, we received more than 280 nominations for the award. We selected winners based on the 32,000 votes cast by employees around the world. 21 finalists and winners were able to help direct $135,000 in grants from the AT&T Foundation to non-profits of their choice. Our winners also met with CEO John Stankey and Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Chief Sustainability Officer Charlene Lake for a virtual celebration broadcast companywide.
AT&T Believes Employee Volunteerism
While our traditional volunteerism during the COVID-19 pandemic was impacted, AT&T Community Engagement has shifted our traditional, in-person employee volunteer events online through a robust virtual volunteerism program with 3 main components:
- Online volunteer opportunities for individuals: Over the course of the year, we expanded our virtual volunteer opportunities to include nearly 70 self-directed options for individual employees. For example, employees went online to write and send letters of encouragement to hospital patients, first responders, students and others facing the impacts of COVID-19.
- At-home volunteer opportunities for groups: Realizing the need for group volunteer experiences that more closely resemble in-person events, we launched AT&T Believes At Home. This contactless program allows groups of participants to work on the same project using supplies that are shipped to their homes. Volunteers come together for a facilitated video meeting to receive project instructions, ask questions and hear from the non-profit beneficiary. Volunteers then ship back their completed project to donate. As community and non-profit needs intensified throughout 2020, AT&T Believes At Home quickly became a popular way for employees to support a variety of causes, including care kits for COVID-19 first responders, hygiene kits for food bank clients, career-ready backpacks for job seekers and school supplies for under-resourced students.
- Student mentoring: We evolved our long-standing mentoring program to be fully virtual for the 2020–2021 school year. Our adapted mentoring program offers students, teachers and our employee volunteer mentors the flexibility to participate from home and allows us to maintain continuity with all partners and projects in more than 60 U.S. cities.
We encourage employees to track and log their volunteer hours, allowing us to applaud their commitment through programs such as the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) – a recognition by the president of the United States of individuals who have dedicated at least 100 hours to their communities over the course of a year. In 2020, more than 1,200 AT&T employees were recognized with the PVSA. We also recognize employees internationally who volunteer 100 hours or more and, in 2020, there were 22.
In Latin America, employees participated in renovation projects at local schools and community organizations through a volunteerism initiative called Piedra, Papel, Tijera (“rock, paper, scissors”). These projects are documented for broadcast as an original television series by the same name to build awareness for the organizations and people who benefit from the volunteer projects. In 2020, the 11th season of the series reached millions of viewers in 11 countries. Employee volunteer opportunities were adapted to be virtual in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and 1,534 employees volunteered nearly 5,167 hours. Since the program’s inception in 2009, more than 14,800 employees have volunteered over 129,000 hours and helped complete nearly 283 projects in 13 countries.
Our annual AT&T Employee Giving Campaign also encourages employees to donate to their favorite non-profits. In 2020, we expanded the campaign to employees worldwide and offered a variety of ways to give, including payroll, credit card or PayPal, resulting in more than 55,300 employees committing to give $20.3 million to the community throughout 2021.9
In addition to the annual campaign, we organized fundraising opportunities for COVID-19 relief efforts where employees could earn a Charity Reward for each dollar donated, up to $1,000. Employees supported a variety of organizations including the AT&T Employee Relief Fund, World Central Kitchen, The Salvation Army, Feeding America and Team Rubicon. Through employee donations and company matching programs, over $700,000 was contributed for COVID-19 relief.9
In support of AT&T’s social equality efforts, we launched fundraising opportunities in partnership with WarnerMedia for 6 non-profit organizations advocating for social equality, justice and police reform. Our employees donated over $600,000 and, accompanied by a company match and AT&T Foundation Charity Rewards, raised a total of $1.5 million.
Grassroots Community Engagement
AT&T Believes℠ is our companywide, localized effort to create positive change in our communities. AT&T Believes harnesses our employees’ generosity, supports it with company resources and joins with municipalities and external partners to make a stronger impact on local communities and society at large. We’re focusing on needs such as the Homework Gap, homelessness, access to education and careers, and digital safety and literacy. In 2020, the AT&T Believes markets came together to provide humanitarian support for COVID-19 and economic empowerment support to organizations focused on racial equity.
AT&T Believes is now lifting communities across more than 40 markets globally, including Atlanta, the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, Seattle and more. In 2020, we launched AT&T Believes in India, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Ireland and the U.K., supporting 32 non-profits across the EMEA/APAC region. We partnered with Akshaya Patra Foundation to provide 500,000 meals for underserved students in India and supported Junior Achievement entrepreneurship and employability programs across Europe, equipping young people with the skills they need to get a job or start a business. We also supported the Arbor Day Foundation, planting more than 30,000 trees across India, the Czech Republic and the U.K.
Through these initiatives, we are making a difference for our employees, customers, neighbors and friends who live and work in these communities. In addition to supporting economic growth and innovation in our communities, AT&T Believes is re-energizing other facets of our community engagement and diversity programming. Over $10 million has been publicly committed to the initiative around the U.S. Highlights include:
- In 2021, collaborating with Udacity and Coursera, AT&T will grant approximately 2,300 scholarships in AT&T Believes efforts across the U.S. to help underserved students achieve their career aspirations.
- Believe Detroit partnered with the governor’s office and Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association to deliver nourishing meals to first responders caring for COVID-19 patients at the TCF Convention Center.
- AT&T and WarnerMedia partnered through Believe New York to contribute $500,000 to the YMCA of Greater New York’s child care program for families most impacted by remote schooling.
When disaster strikes, our company and our employees demonstrate our corporate value “Be There” by assisting victims and affected communities through disaster response activities, corporate giving, volunteerism and support for impacted coworkers. AT&T is also a member of the American Red Cross Disaster Responder Program, which helps ensure the Red Cross is on site immediately following a disaster and has the resources to assist those in need.
In 2020, our corporate disaster relief giving totaled more than $1.2 million and provided support for 32 organizations such as the American Red Cross, Australian Red Cross, Big Sur Fire Brigade, Hispanic Federation, Iowa Association of Community Action Directors, Information Tech Disaster Relief Center (ITDRC), Salvation Army in Minnesota and Tennessee, SBP (formerly St. Bernard Project), SE Texas Civilian Task Force, Télécoms sans Frontières (TSF), Team Rubicon, United Way of SW Louisiana and Alabama, Volunteer Florida Foundation, and many other local organizations that support communities devastated by natural disasters.
Employee Engagement & Volunteerism
Our employees also gave their time in support of disaster preparedness, response and recovery efforts across the country. Throughout the year, employees hosted food and clothing drives and distributed bottled water in communities recovering from disasters.
Although COVID-19 limited employees’ ability to safely offer in-person support, AT&T employees found ways to reach out and connect with those in need, such as by making phone calls to isolated seniors during the height of the pandemic. They also served meals to first responders and those working on the front lines.
The AT&T Employee Relief Fund helps provide financial support for colleagues in times of unforeseen need. Funded by employee donations and matching grants from the AT&T Foundation, the 501(c)(3) public charity helps coworkers experiencing challenges beyond their control – including natural disasters, house fires or unexpected personal hardships.
In 2020, AT&T employee donations and matching grants from the AT&T Foundation to the AT&T Employee Relief Fund provided over $921,000 in relief funding to nearly 1,400 employees recovering from hardship, which includes over 275 grants going to employees significantly impacted by COVID-19.
Additionally, in 2020, the AT&T Pioneers Disaster Relief Fund granted more than $33,000 to 117 employees and retirees impacted by disasters. In addition to monetary grants, 464 disaster relief kits were shared with impacted employees to help in their recovery.
To learn more about our disaster response efforts, visit our Network Quality & Reliability issue brief.
Through the many programs and initiatives outlined above, we work to be good corporate citizens in our communities. We know strong communities make our company stronger. In the case that a community expresses concerns about AT&T programs or activities, the concern or grievance is collected through our state External & Legislative Affairs teams and our Office of the President and reported to the appropriate department for resolution.
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