Dr Beth Breeze

Philanthropy expert highlights a decade of increased giving

A total of almost £15bn in large £1m+ gifts has been donated in the UK by individuals, foundations and corporations over the past decade, new research co-authored by a University philanthropy expert shows.

The latest Coutts’ Million Pound Donors Report, co-authored by Dr Beth Breeze of the University’s Centre for Philanthropy, shows that there has been a boom in philanthropy since the financial crisis, with a record high of £1.86bn donated in 2016, and the number of donations of £1m+ is up by two-thirds over the decade.

There has also been a surge in corporate giving, with the total annual value of corporate donations rising from just under £50m in 2006/7 to over £500m in 2016 – an increase of over 900%. The total annual 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 institutions and foundations were found to receive the most donations.

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. Also, the annual number of £1m+ donations to UK-based charities from donors located outside the UK has increased ten-fold since the report began – from three to 30. The total value of these donations has increased by over 2,500% – from £9.8m in 2006/7 to £263.5m in 2016.

Dr Breeze said that 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’.

The ten year anniversary publication of the Coutts Million Pound Donors Report tracks the number, size, source, and destination of £1m+ donations. Designed to celebrate and inspire philanthropy, the report also includes interviews with major donors including Rory McIlroy, Sir Terence Conran, the Coutts Foundation, Gordon Roddick, Liccy Dahl and Sir Paul Ruddock.