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Wells Fargo Edges Out Wal-Mart in Charitable Giving, Survey Finds

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- For the third year in a row, corporations have increased their charitable giving.

According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual survey, the biggest companies in the U.S. gave away $5.3 billion in cash last year.  

Wells Fargo was the top giver, donating $315 million in 2012.

"A lot of that came through a $77 million grant that they gave to a program called Neighbor Works America, which provides down payment assistance to first time home buyers in poorer neighborhoods," says Peter Panepento, the assistant managing editor of the Chronicle.

Wal-Mart came in second place after holding the top spot for seven years.  But that could change this year.

"Well Fargo thinks that their giving will actually go down a little bit in 2013 so we expect -- unless there's another company that comes up on the rail -- that Wal-Mart will probably be back up at the top of the list again this year," says Panepento.

The survey also found that product giveaways are becoming more popular.

"We're seeing a lot of companies, especially pharmaceutical companies, giving away increased amounts of their products to help those in need," Panepento says.

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