At least 2,197 gifts of $1 million or more, totaling $56 billion, were made last year across the United States, the United Kingdom and the Middle East (GCC), marking a significant increase in both the number and total value of gifts compared to the previous year.
The “Million Dollar Donors Report,” produced by Coutts & Co., in association with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, analyzes the number, size and recipients of gifts of $1 million or more given by individuals, foundations and corporations in the U.S., U.K. and the Middle East (Gulf Cooperation Council countries). In 2016 for the first time it also includes a discussion and case studies that illustrate philanthropy across Continental Europe.
“Examining gifts at the $1 million level in multiple countries allows us to gain insights into how top-level donors are giving differently across geography and cultures, and reminds us that philanthropy and generosity are an important part of every culture,” said Amir Pasic, the Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the school. “Americans’ giving does not occur in a vacuum; it’s important to understand how the trends we see in the United States reflect or diverge from the global picture.”
The increase in donations of $1 million or more spanned all three regions studied. The number of donations in the U.S. increased by more than 70 percent (from 1,064 in 2014 to 1,823 in 2015). The total amount of those gifts increased from $14.11 billion to $19.30 billion, an increase of 37 percent. In the U.K., the number of donations increased nearly 20 percent from 198 in 2014 to 355 in 2015. And while the number of donations in the Middle East decreased, the total value climbed dramatically due to a $32 billion pledge by a single donor.
The $56 billion total across the three regions in 2015 climbed substantially compared to the $17 billion donated in the same regions in 2014. Even discounting the $32 billion pledge, the value of donations rose more than 41 percent. Some 85 percent of the gifts in the report were given by individual donors.
The type of organization receiving the greatest portion of funds was foundations, thanks in particular to the $32 billion pledge. However, as in previous years higher education remained a top recipient of million-dollar-plus giving, and it received the greatest number of million-dollar-plus gifts (1,047) in 2015.
The researchers caution that the report should not be used to compare giving by region, as comparisons would be misleading because the nature, structure and stage of philanthropy varies greatly by region, and because data on giving is more accessible in some regions than others. The report is intended as a resource for understanding global trends in philanthropy. A number of trends are worth noting.
Key international findings include:
Key U.S. findings include:
“The significant growth in million-dollar-plus giving in the U.S. is good news,” said Una Osili, Ph.D., director of research at the school. “For the first time in eight years, we are seeing giving at this level rebound to where it was before the recession. Donors are increasing their support and dedication to the causes they care about.”
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