Giving by Ultra Rich Totaled $112 Billion in 2014, Study Finds

Philanthropic giving by the world's ultra wealthy totaled $112 billion in 2014, up 6.4 percent from the previous year, a report from Wealth-X and Arton Capital finds.

Based on the Wealth-X and Arton Capital Major Giving Index, which tracks charitable giving by more than two hundred thousand ultra-high-net-worth individuals with at least $30 million in net assets, Philanthropy Report 2015 (51 pages, PDF) found that with uncertainty over the global economy increasing, growth in giving slowed significantly from the 36.6 percent jump the index recorded in 2013. Still, the index has recovered to its pre-recession levels and then some, the report notes, with ultra-high-net-worth individuals committing, on average, $530,100 to philanthropy in 2014.

The report also found that 65 percent of ultra-high-net-worth individuals give at least $1 million over the course of their lifetime, with the typical ultra-wealthy donor giving $28.7 million over his or her lifetime, and that self-made American billionaires give, on average, $179.5 million during their lifetime — more than any other group in the study. Among all ultra-wealthy donors, average lifetime giving was highest in India ($96.6 million), followed by the United Kingdom ($32.7 million) and Hong Kong ($32.3 million), while average lifetime giving as a percentage of net worth was highest in the UK (12.3 percent), followed by the U.S. (8.7 percent) and Hong Kong (7.6 percent).

In terms of issue area, higher education and education attracted the largest shares of total dollars donated by ultra-high-net-worth individuals, followed by health. The report also found that donors were committed to supporting efforts to address the refugee crisis in Syria and other parts of the Middle East and North Africa, with one in twenty-eight ultra-high-net-worth individuals donating a total of $2.7 billion to refugee efforts in 2014.

"The global migration crisis facing Europe is a wake-up call to the world," said Arton Capital president and CEO Armand Arton. "The desire for a better life is a universal human necessity."