Where the largest corporations and philanthropies put down roots

Much has been made of Massachusetts becoming a branch-office economy and the threat that poses to local charities dependent on corporate largesse. But so far, at least, the Bay State is holding its own in big companies and big charities alike. Fifteen of this year’s Forbes 500 companies are headquartered in the Bay State, putting us in a tie for ninth place among the 50 states (seventh on a per-capita basis). The state’s largest public companies (based on sales, profits, assets, and market value) are in banking and insurance: FleetBoston Financial at 46th, State Street Corp. at 108th, and John Hancock Financial Services at 114th. Further down the list are high-tech and biotech companies including Genzyme Corp. at 451st, Biogen Corp. at 465th, and Thermo Electron Corp. at 494th

Less well known is the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual Philanthropic 400 report, which lists the country’s largest nonprofits by the private donations they receive. We rank fourth in the number of organizations making this list (second, per-capita), led by Fidelity Investments Charitable Fund, a sort of United Way for mutual-fund investors. (Members make tax-deductible donations to mutual funds and direct the earnings to charitable groups.) The Fidelity fund is the second largest philanthropy in the nation, behind the Salvation Army. About one-third of the Philanthropic 400 are educational institutions, and Massachusetts ranks first in this subcategory with 14 entries – led by Harvard at seventh and MIT at 50th.

In big givers, however, we are not so well represented. The Bay State ranks 10th in the number of residents (13th, per-capita) among the Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans, with Newton’s Sumner Redstone (18th) and Boston’s Abigail Johnson (19th) setting the pace. But our super-rich don’t seem to give their money away, at least not in big chunks. The Chronicle of Philanthropy publishes an annual list of what it estimates to be the 60 biggest such donations, and only three Massachusetts gifts (and givers) have made the roster in the past three years: Peter and Virginia Nicholas’s $25 million pledge to Duke University in 2002; John and Shelley Blais’s $16 million pledge to the University of Massachusetts – Worcester, the state’s medical school, and Peter and Carolyn Lynch’s promise of $10 million to the Archdiocese of Boston, both in 2001.

Rank State
Number of Forbes 500 Companies
(Per capita Rank)*
Number of Philanthropic 400 Nonprofits
(Per Capita Rank)**
Forbes 400 Richest Americans
(Per Capita Rank)***
1. California
64 (14)
40 (17)
90 (3)
2. New York
62 (2)
67 (1)
48 (4)
3. Texas
38 (18)
20 (25)
37 (10)
4. Illinois
31 (5)
19 (10)
16 (18)
5. Ohio
26 (9)
13 (22)
7 (35)
5. Pennsylvania
26 (10)
15 (15)
15 (19)
7. New Jersey
21 (6)
3 (41)
6 (32)
8. Michigan
16 (23)
8 (31)
12 (20)
9. Connecticut
15 (1)
3 (28)
6 (11)
9. Georgia
15 (17)
18 (6)
8 (26)
9. Massachusetts
15 (7)
22 (2)
11 (13)
12. Minnesota
14 (3)
6 (16)
9 (9)
12. Virginia
14 (12)
23 (3)
4 (37)
14. North Carolina
13 (22)
8 (24)
5 (34)
15. Florida
10 (37)
13 (29)
22 (14)
15. Missouri
10 (19)
10 (7)
6 (24)
15. Washington
10 (21)
8 (13)
13 (6)
15. Wisconsin
10 (15)
3 (37)
7 (17)
19. Alabama
9 (11)
5 (23)
1 (39)
19. Tennessee
9 (24)
8 (12)
6 (25)
21. Colorado
8 (16)
10 (5)
12 (2)
21. Indiana
8 (28)
7 (21)
4 (33)
23. Kentucky
5 (29)
5 (14)
0 (NA)
23. Maryland
5 (32)
9 (8)
4 (31)
25. Arizona
4 (33)
6 (18)
6 (21)
25. Arkansas
4 (26)
2 (33)
6 (5)
25. Iowa
4 (27)
2 (36)
0 (NA)
25. Oklahoma
4 (30)
5 (11)
2 (36)
29. Idaho
3 (8)
0 (NA)
1 (30)
29. Louisiana
3 (36)
1 (42)
0 (NA)
29. Nebraska
3 (20)
2 (20)
3 (12)
32. Delaware
2 (4)
2 (4)
0 (NA)
32. Kansas
2 (34)
2 (34)
3 (22)
32. Maine
2 (25)
1 (32)
0 (NA)
32. Mississippi
2 (35)
2 (35)
0 (NA)
32. Nevada
2 (31)
0 (NA)
6 (1)
32. Rhode Island
2 (13)
1 (26)
2 (8)
38. Oregon
1 (39)
4 (19)
3 (27)
38. Utah
1 (38)
2 (27)
3 (15)
40. Alaska
0 (NA)
0 (NA)
0 (NA)
40. Hawaii
0 (NA)
0 (NA)
1 (28)
40. Montana
0 (NA)
0 (NA)
1 (23)
40. New Hampshire
0 (NA)
1 (30)
1 (29)
40. New Mexico
0 (NA)
1 (39)
0 (NA)
40. North Dakota
0 (NA)
0 (NA)
0 (NA)
40. South Carolina
0 (NA)
2 (40)
1 (38)
40. South Dakota
0 (NA)
0 (NA)
1 (16)
40. Vermont
0 (NA)
1 (9)
0 (NA)
40. West Virginia
0 (NA)
1 (38)
0 (NA)
40. Wyoming
0 (NA)
0 (NA)
1 (7)
* Five Forbes 500 companies are headquarters in the District of Columbia, and two are headquartered in Puerto Rico.

** Nineteen Philanthropic 400 organizations are headquarted in the District of Columbia.

*** Three of the Forbes 400 currently live in the District of Columbia, and seven live abroad.

Sources: Population data from the US Census (www.census.gov); Forbes 500 and Forbes 400 data from www.forbes.com; Philanthropic 400 data from the Chronicle of Philanthropy (philanthropy.com).