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Coutts Crunches Data On Global Philanthropy; Singapore Corporate Giving Is Strong

Tom Burroughes

18 December 2014

Individuals gave the most donations on a global basis while in Singapore;  corporations and corporate foundations made up the largest share of this philanthropy, a survey of donations has found. It showed that in 2013, a total of $26.3 billion of contributions were made.

The survey also revealed that higher education received the single-largest share of such contributions.

In its first year of inclusion in the Coutts Million Dollar Donors Report, Singapore shows an established culture of large-scale philanthropy - donations of $1 million or more, with a total value of $713 million from 38 $1 million-plus gifts made in 2013. Corporations and corporate foundations were the main source of these donations, accounting for over three quarters (77 per cent) of the total value.

The report tracks the number, size, and recipients of $1 million-plus dollar donations given by individuals, foundations and corporations in the UK, US, Russia, Middle East (Gulf Cooperation Council), China, Hong Kong and Singapore. The Singapore study, meanwhile, was conducted in association with The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre.

Other findings from the study in Singapore include the facts that $713 million in total value was made from 38 donations in 2013; corporations and corporate foundations, donating 28 gifts, were the main source of $1 million-plus donations; the biggest corporate donor in 2013 was Tote Board, with a total donation of $336 million.

Also, the Yong Loo Lin Trust gave the largest private/family foundation gift, with $20 million donated to cancer research and education, and a large majority of $1 million-plus gifts went to higher education institutions. Three such institutions received almost 40 per cent ($285 million) of the total value of identified gifts.

Globally, higher education-related charities get the most money. Million-dollar donors across the seven international regions contributed a total of $9.06 billion, or 34 per cent of total value, to higher education institutions. Higher education topped the list of recipients by value in four of the seven regions (the UK, US, Hong Kong and Singapore), and came second in a further two (Russia and China).

Individuals give more money in total than foundations and corporations. Individual donors gave 45 per cent of the $26.3 billion donated across all regions. In China, the Middle East and Singapore, corporations gave the most money. In the UK and Hong Kong, foundations gave the most money. In the US and Russia, individuals were the biggest source of donations by value.

A majority of million-dollar donations are directed within the regions from where they originated (although the GCC region is the exception to this rule, once again). However,  2013 saw a significant increase in the amount given to overseas causes, with this category rising to the third most popular destination in terms of donation value. This growth was influenced by large donations to overseas causes, including $1.8bn donated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Coutts report said.