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Pfizer says it will continue some community charity efforts

Pfizer says it will continue some community charity efforts image Pfizer says it will continue some community charity efforts image
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Pfizer says it will continue some community chanty efforts

Drugmaker's workers a major force in United Way drives


News Business Report

Despite the fact that it is leaving town, Pfizer Inc. said Wednesday it will continue some of its philanthropic efforts for two more years, including donating $620,000 to United Way in 2007, in addition to what workers pledge. If employees raise more than $620,000, the company will match that amount.

Pfizer will offer a similar match in 2008 with a minimum $310,000 donation.

However, it’s not clear how many employees will remain at Pfizer to participate in the campaigns. By this fall, there may be 1,000 people on site, less than half of the current 2,100 workers.

By January, the employee count could be 500 or less as the facilities close and work moves to other sites.

The company’s matching donations come from the Pfizer Foundation, an independent charitable foundation established by the company in 1953.

For United Way’s 2006 campaign, Pfizer and its employees pledged $1.8 million, or about 23 percent of the agency’s $8 million goal.

Washtenaw United Way President Sandy Rupp described Pfizer’s continued financial support as “fantastic.”

“Uncertainty is never good, especially in a campaign, so this has been a really nice affirmation of the great corporate citizen that Pfizer is,” Rupp said.

The company is closing its Ann Arbor facilities by the end of next year as part of a major cost-cutting initiative.

David Canter, site director for Pfizer’s Michigan labs, said company officials met at its corporate headquarters in New York recently to discuss how to deal with the philanthropic impact in several communities where it is closing facilities.

In addition to its United Way contributions, Pfizer also donates about $1 million a year in the Ann Arbor area through its community grants program. The company plans to. continue those donations this year, but has not made a decision yet about 2008, according to Pfizer spokesman Rick Chambers.



Company's foundation makes grants

Recent recipients of the local community grants include the Ann Arbor Symphony, YMCA, Hospice of Michigan, Ann Arbor Police and Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum, among many others.

Pfizer is a major, longtime sponsor of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, scheduled for June 15 through July 8. Robb Woulfe, the event's executive director, said he is thrilled the company will be a major sponsor for this year's festival, which has a $1.3 million budget.

"We're seeing 2007 as a farewell to Pfizer," Woulfe said. "We're going out with a bang and we're thrilled they can participate this year. We want to give them a heck of a party."

Contact Jenny Rode at or 734-994-6843.