We define philanthropy as the giving of resources in an engaged and strategic way for maximum impact and in a tax efficient manner. It can include the giving of money, assets, time, talent, voice and one’s social capital. We believe in the power of philanthropy as a great social connector and the source of many great opportunities.

City Philanthropy

A Wealth of Opportunity

Big ticket philanthropy rises over 10 years suggesting new boom time, Coutts Million Pound Donors report shows

Nov 27th 2017

Nearly £15bn has been given in £1m plus donations by individuals, foundations or corporations over the last decade with the biggest increase noted in 2016, according to the Coutts Million Pound Donors 10 year anniversary report which identifies a philanthropic 'boom time'.

The total value of donations rose from £1.37bn in 2006/07 to a record high of £1.83bn in 2016 – with this most recent year representing 12.3% of the 10-year total.

Of the £1.83bn donated in the UK last year, £1bn came from foundations, £511m from companies and £313m from individuals. The amount donated directly by individuals decreased by more than £100m compared with 2015 and was half of that donated in 2007. The number of people donating £1m or more was 43, down from 48 last year but up from 42 in 2007.

Corporate donations have seen a surge with the total value of corporate donations rising from just under £50m in 2006/7 to over £500m in 2016 – an increase of over 900%. The total number of donations of £1m or more from corporations has also risen by 282% from 17 in 2006/7 to 65 in 2016. Higher education and foundations receive the most

London retains its position as the hub of major philanthropy in the UK. However, the biggest and most consistent rise in the total value of donations has been in the North East, although donations came from almost every region of the UK.

Dr Beth Breeze of Kent  University’s Centre for Philanthropy, (pictured) who co-authors the Coutts’ Million Pound Donors Report,  says: “Philanthropy affects the lives of everyone because most people give some money or time at least once a year, and because ‘we all benefit from the gifts of past and present donors’. A better understanding of the size, source and destination of the biggest gifts is especially useful in a time when ‘the role of philanthropy is widely debated."

Among individual donors this year are golfer Rory McIlroy, designer Sir Terence Conran, Gordon Roddick, the husband of late Body Shop founder Anita, and Liccy Dahl, the wife of the late author Roald.

London retains its position as the hub of major philanthropy in the UK.

The total annual value has fluctuated over the decade, with its lowest dip in 2010/2011 (£1,23bn). 75% of the largest single donations recorded were in the first five years.

The largest single donation given was £470m, from Albert Gubay to the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation in 2010. Gubay passed away in January 2016 leaving a charitable foundation worth around £700 million supporting causes connected to the Catholic Church as well as a range of other charitable causes.

Other ‘mega-gifts’ (those totalling £100m or more) have predominantly been gifts to charitable foundations from private individuals. These include donations from:

  • Sir Christopher Hohn to the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation
  • Lord David Sainsbury to the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, (which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017)
  • Heather and David Stevens to the Waterloo Foundation

The number of donations rose from 189 in 2006/07 to 310 in 2016 – an increase of 64% - and have risen steadily over the past 10 years, despite a dip in 2009/10 after the financial crisis

While three-quarters of the largest donations recorded came in the first five years, the second half of the decade saw 50% more donations overall, although these were lower in average value.

Coutts say the figures suggest a philanthropy boom time.  Based on their experience they say philanthropy is deeply personal and driven by people’s passions, values or interests. However, there are a number of factors that are likely to have inspired and supported the growth in philanthropy in recent years they say, including:

The rise in the availability of strategic philanthropy advice such as that given by the Coutts Institute – evidence shows people are more likely to give if they have access to good advice

  • Growing media attention on philanthropy
  • High-profile philanthropists pledging to gift most of their wealth to charity, including signatories of the Giving Pledge
  • Charitable organisations doing more to develop effective major donor fundraising strategies
  • Governments and other sources offering to match donations, which has particularly been the case for higher education and the arts

The reports also include insightful interviews with philanthropists from around the world, illustrate that philanthropy is driven by people’s passions, values, concerns or visions for a better society.

Download the Coutts Million Pound Donors report and find the case studies, featuring Lloyd Dorfman and Barrow Cadbury Trust  family trustee Anna Southall ,OBE  here: http://philanthropy.coutts.com/


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