Oct. 27, 2005--An unprecedented level of contributions by American companies, from small businesses and big businesses alike, have been aiding in the relief effort of the Gulf Coast, where hundreds of thousands of small businesses themselves were affected.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Center for Corporate Citizenship (CCC), more than $1 billion was donated by businesses to the relief of Hurricane Katrina, accounting for one-third of all donations.

A total of 245 companies pledged at least $1 million each in cash or in-kind donations. The largest contributors were Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and GE, with each donating $20 million or more. The total breakdown of contributions included $536 million in cash, $204 million in in-kind donations, $53 million from employee matching, $28 million in employee donations, and $195 in customer contributions.

But, according to Stephen Jordan, vice president and executive director of the CCC, "The story isn't just about the big businesses that gave the million dollar checks. A lot of the smaller companies gave $5,000 or $10,000. As a proportion of their total revenues, that is extraordinarily generous."

According to Jordan, 70% of the donations have gone to the Red Cross, but that may change. "We are transitioning out of the relief effort now into the recovery and reconstruction phase. Now it's going to be about debris removal; it's getting inventory back, it's repairing the broken windows and figuring what to do with the flooded storage facilities."