Comcast “One of America’s Most Community-Minded Companies”

Company recognized for its philanthropy. Is it just good business?

Here’s the good news:

For the second consecutive year, Comcast NBCUniversal was recognized today as one of America’s most community-minded companies by , an annual initiative that identifies and recognizes companies for their commitment to improve the quality of life in the communities where they do business. The company also ranked first among its communications industry peers. Points of Light, the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service, conducted the survey in partnership with Bloomberg LP. All companies with $1 billion in revenue or more are invited to apply for The Civic 50

The Comcast Foundation has donated more than $18 million in 2014 to nonprofit organizations in the communities it serves nationwide, and since 1999, it has donated nearly $158 million. In addition to the grants from the Comcast Foundation, Comcast NBCUniversal also responds to community needs through local sponsorships and in-kind support, such as airing public service announcements, employee volunteerism, and providing technology equipment and services to organizations across the country.

Unfortunately, we’re compelled also to recall the New York Times’ story last February pointing out that Comcast’s philanthropy often has the effect of building support for its private initiatives — like, say, its merger with Time Warner Cable — though Comcast’s David Cohen pooh-poohs the notion.

“People would like to take this 20-plus-year-old incredible commitment to communities and these organizations and would like to make it a bad thing — that we are buying off support for the transaction,” Mr. Cohen said in an interview, referring to the Comcast Foundation’s $140 million in grants since its inception and more than $3.2 billion since 2001 when all kinds of corporate support (cash and in-kind support like free public service announcements) are included. “That is simply not true. And I believe it is offensive to the organizations we support.”

The company celebrated its listing on The Civic 50 with a blog post today from Charisse Lille:

Whether through mentoring programs or our commitment to bridging the digital divide through Comcast’s Internet Essentials, we work hard to integrate our Community Investment efforts across our businesses. We don’t simply write a check. Rather, we take a holistic approach to giving, using our unique assets to drive lasting change in our communities. We encourage our employees, including our leadership team, to take active roles and help guide our efforts. And we measure the impact we make, as we continually look for ways to improve what we are doing.

My inbox is often filled with messages from employees sharing their pride in working for a company that takes our community commitment seriously. They tell me about the hours they spent refurbishing a school playground on Comcast Cares Day, or the joy they felt reading the news about our newest technology initiative at Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide.

Follw @JoelMMathis on Twitter.