Global Giving by Ultra Rich Increased 3 Percent in 2015, Study Finds

Philanthropic giving in 2015 by the world's ultra-wealthy rose 3 percent on a year-over-year basis, or about half the  6.4 percent increase recorded in 2014, 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 ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals with at least $30 million in net assets, the report, Changing Philanthropy: Trend Shifts in Ultra Wealthy Giving (57 pages, PDF), found that the rise in the number of gifts slightly outpaced the increase in the total value of gifts, possibly due to the growing popularity of tools such as venture philanthropy, impact investing, and microfinance, which often result in higher numbers of more modest gifts.

The survey also found that, on average, UHNW donors in the Americas expected to donate close to $30 million over their lifetimes — or $315 billion in total. In 2015, education received almost half (47 percent) of UHNW giving, followed by health (20 percent); arts, culture, and humanities (10 percent); and public and social benefit (8 percent).

The study also highlighted three trends: millennials are reshaping philanthropy through employee-based giving and embedded corporate philanthropy; ultra-high-net-worth individuals, along with foundations, pension funds, and development finance institutions, are helping to drive the growing popularity of impact investing; and UHNW individuals are blurring the lines between corporate and individual philanthropy as well as between philanthropy and business/personal investing.

"The next generation of UHNWIs, who stand to inherit as much as $3.9 trillion in the next ten years alone, are increasingly aware of global social and environmental problems," the report concludes. "They are already demanding far-reaching changes in the way they work and in the way their employers interact with the world around them."

"The Wealth-X and Arton Capital Philanthropy Report 2016." Wealth-X Press Release 12/12/2016.