Universities dominate 'big gifts' list in US and UK

Major philanthropists are more generous to higher education in the US and UK than they are in other regions, according to a new report.

November 12, 2013

The Million Dollar Donors Report 2013, compiled by the bank Coutts, looked at 1,249 gifts of over $1 million (£629,922) made last year across the six regions.

Of the $19 billion in donations it analysed, $7.05 billion went to higher education, 37 per cent of the total.

Around $14 billion of this was accounted for by gifts in the US, where 40 per cent of the total donated went to higher education. In the UK, 42 per cent of philanthropy also went to universities. 

But the proportions were much lower in Russia (8 per cent), China (21 per cent), the Middle East (19 per cent) and Hong Kong (15 per cent).

However, these regions had much smaller sample sizes than the US. Just 18 donors were tracked in Russia, for example.

The report appears to show that wealthy Americans donated far more - $14 billion - than those in other regions. Those in China collectively gave $1.2 billion, for example, while Russians gave $239 million.

A spokeswoman for Coutts said this reflected the maturity of philanthropic activity in some of the regions, cultural differences, and the difficulty of obtaining information about donations in some countries.

A total of $570 million was given to higher education in the UK in 2012, up from $405 million in 2010-11 (the report has switched from using financial years to calendar years).

Higher education is now the biggest recipient of million dollar plus donations, overtaking foundations and trusts.

“Major donors view universities as credible institutions – in terms of their permanence, scale and governance – able to absorb and spend large sums on a wide range of important activities: from scholarships for financially disadvantaged students to cutting-edge research,” the report says. 

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

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