Mega-giving in the US favours higher education

Mega-giving in the US favours higher education

News (International)

Higher education, health, and cultural arts organisations receive the bulk of the largest gifts that individuals, foundations, and corporations contribute to American philanthropy, according to a new study.

Released by the Institute for Jewish & Community Research (IJCR), the report, ‘Mega-Gifts in American Philanthropy: Giving Patterns 2001-2003’, highlights that higher education received nearly half of the donations from gifts of $10m or more.

Gary A. Tobin and Aryeh K. Weinberg, the study's authors, analysed over 8 000 gifts of $1m or more made between 2001-2003, the largest sample ever collected of gifts over $1m.
According to Tobin, president of ICJR, the mega-gifts were concentrated in a few types of organisations, with religious organisations, human services for the needy attracted the least. “Colleges and universities are the biggest winners," he said.

Included in the findings:

  • Higher education is by far the largest recipient of mega-gifts, taking in 37% of gifts and 44% of dollars
  • For gifts of $10m or more, higher education receives an even bigger share  with 46% of gifts and 47% of dollars
  • Health and medical causes received 14% of gifts of $10m or more, up from 11% in 1995-2000, and 19% of dollars, up from 14% in 1995-2000
  • Religion and federated appeals received the lowest proportion of gifts, 3% each, and dollars, 2% each. Of the 110 largest gifts, none went to religion or federated appeals
  • About 55% of dollars came from private foundations, 28% from individuals, 8% from corporations, and the remainder from community foundations, donor advised funds, anonymous gifts and miscellaneous sources

IJCR's mega-gift research is ongoing and reports will be issued every two years.  To read the full-report click here.

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