A Time for Giving: A Quick Guide to the Matching Program for 3M Employees

Despite the unusual circumstances that have marked 2020, the holidays continue to be a time to take stock of the blessings in our lives. It is also a time when we begin to think about supporting non-profit organizations and projects we value.

As a 3M employee or retiree, you may be aware of the corporate gift matching program. This is a great way to make your volunteering and/or charitable donations go further. Since it may only come up once per year, we thought a quick refresher along with other giving strategies might be helpful as you plan year-end donations. There have also been some changes to the program in recent years.

Through the 3M Foundation, your employer provides three different matching programs:

  • 3M Foundation Volunteer Match
  • 3M Foundation Community Giving Match
  • 3M Foundation College & University Match

Who is eligible to participate?

  • Regular full and part-time US employees of 3M can participate
  • US retirees of 3M may also participate (except for Community Giving Match)

1. Volunteer Matching Program

This program donates $500 to a charity for 25 or more hours of volunteerism at that charity. Here are some stipulations: 

  1. All 25 hours must be completed at the same organization within one calendar year
  2. Start by logging hours with an eligible organization in the employee engagement portal.
  3. Once your 25 hours are complete – request the 3M volunteer match through the employee engagement portal. Be sure to submit your hours before December 31. Time spent volunteering from the prior calendar year will not be matched.
  4. Match requests will be reviewed prior to funds being released. 3M Foundation staff will audit a sub-set of matching fund requests to confirm hours volunteered.

Which charities can benefit?

  • Eligible organizations include US public charities that are tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code
  • US public schools, public school districts and private schools
  • Independent public-serving programs of churches/houses of worship, e.g. food shelves, private schools (but not the churches/houses of worship themselves)

Example: Samantha, a recent 3M retiree, logs 25 volunteer hours at her local food bank. After submitting her volunteer hours logged into the employee engagement portal, the Food Bank receives $500 as a matching gift.

2. Community Giving Match

This program provides a 1 to 1 match, up to $1,000, per calendar year. Here are some stipulations:

  1. [1]Through the employee engagement portal, you can arrange for gifts via your payroll (recurring or one-time) as well as credit card.
  2. If you donate directly to a charity or school, you will need to submit documentation through the employee engagement portal.
  3. Gifts made through a donor advised fund are eligible for the 3M match
  4. Direct donations of publicly traded securities are eligible donor gifts.
  5. Units of government and houses of worship/churches are considered “ineligible” organizations.

Which charities can benefit? Same as Volunteer Match Program above.

Example: Johann, a current 3M employee, arranges for a transfer of appreciated 3M stock plan shares to the account of his local youth mentoring program. As of the date of the donation (transfer) the stock was worth $3,000. After submitting his match request through the employer engagement portal, 3M sends the mentoring program a check for $1,000, matching Johann’s gift. As a result, the charity received a total donation of $4,000.

3. College & University Match

This program provides a 1 to 1 match, up to $5,000, per calendar year for current US employees, and a 0.5 to 1 match for US retirees of 3M, to an eligible college or university. Here are some stipulations:

  1. The donor must first complete a personal gift directly to an eligible college or university, then submit documentation through the employee engagement portal (by December 31).
  2. Payments towards tuition or student expenses are not eligible.
  3. To receive the 3M match the college or university must verify the donor’s gift by February 28 of the year following the gift transaction.
  4. Matching payments will go out twice per year and are sent directly to the institution.

Which charities can benefit?

  • Eligible organizations include accredited colleges and universities located in the US (or a US possession) including community colleges, graduate or professional schools granting degrees. College and University Foundations and Alumni Associations are also included as are certain Scholarship Funds.
  • Note: Elementary and Secondary schools are ineligible to receive matching funds

Example: A former 3M scientist, Lucinda, retired 4 years ago. She sends a gift to her alma mater, the University of Minnesota, in the amount of $10,000 in December 2020 and submits documentation of her gift by December 31 via the 3M Employee Engagement Portal. 3M Foundation sends a check to the University of Minnesota for $5,000 to match (0.5:1) Lucinda’s donation. The University receives a total gift of $15,000.

Note: US retirees of 3M may participate until their fifth-year anniversary of retirement at the time a matching gift is requested

*It is important to notes that 3M Foundation cannot guarantee all requested matches will be granted. All matching will be limited by the annual budget of the Foundation.

[1] Processing fees apply to Payroll and Credit Card transactions – see FAQs link below


Other Resources

Important Links

Wondering how to evaluate a charity you are considering?

Visit Charity Navigator or GuideStar

What is a Donor Advised Fund (DAF)?

A DAF is a type of charitable giving account that can be used to streamline your philanthropy. DAF accounts can be established through a variety of community foundations as well as commercially sponsored charities such as Schwab Charitable and Fidelity Charitable.

With the DAF, transferring cash or appreciated securities (shares of publicly traded stock) is made relatively easy. Donors have the potential to receive an income tax deduction for the full market value of the gifted securities.

Once funded, the DAF can be reinvested according to the risk orientation of the Donor-Advisor. From there, the Donor-Advisor can request grants to qualified charities.

Many clients of PrairieView Partners will use their DAF to control the timing of a tax deduction while maintaining a consistent pattern of annual donations to charity.

Income Tax Considerations

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that went into effect in 2018 increased the Standard Deduction for taxpayers. As a result, many filers no longer itemize income tax deductions. This means your charitable donations may not result in a tax savings. If you are over the age 70 ½ you may want to consider sending donations directly from an IRA. There are also strategic ways to “front-load” a Donor Advised Fund and benefit with an income tax deduction.


If you have questions about the 3M Matching Gift Program or the various ways to carry out your charitable giving plan, please let us know!