This report identifies charitable donations worth $1m or more that were made during the calendar year 2014, either by donors in the US, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore the Middle East (GCC) and South Africa, or to charities based in these countries. The report also identifies all known charitable donations worth £1m or more that were made either by UK donors or to UK-based charities during the calendar year 2014.  

In the US, data on million dollar giving has been collected as part of the Million Dollar List since 2000 and is available at; and in the UK, the Coutts Million Pound Donor Report has been published since 2008. For Russia, China, Hong Kong and the Middle East, the data was collected and published for the first time in 2012 for use in the 2013 Coutts Million Dollar Donors Report and for Singapore the data was collected and published for the first time in 2013 for use in the 2014 Coutts Million Dollar Donors Report. To our knowledge, this is the first time that this data has been collected for South Africa.

For countries whose gifts are not usually given in pounds or dollars, we selected the following cut-off points, all approximately equal to US$1m in 2014: in Russia, 40 million roubles; in China, 6.119m RMB (Chinese Yuan); in Hong Kong, 7.5m Hong Kong dollars and 6m RMB (Chinese Yuan); in Singapore 1.5m SGD; and in South Africa 10m rand.

Almost all the data discussed in this report was gathered from publicly available documents such as media coverage and charity annual reports and accounts, as a number of profiled countries do not have tax or other official records of such giving. Some additional data was provided by donors, as well as by charities in receipt of this level of donation – with the consent of their donors. In order to add to the publicly available data, in Russia and South Africa we surveyed prominent philanthropists, as well as foundations and charities that tend to receive very large donations. Where applicable, we have included pledges for future gifts, and therefore not every gift will have been paid in full to recipient charities. Data about donations made anonymously is included when available.

We include donations made by individuals, foundations and corporations for all regions. We include corporate foundations under the larger ‘corporations’ category. Foundations may include both private foundations (where the founder or a family member is still present to direct grant decisions), and professional foundations (where the founder is no longer present to direct such decisions), as well as charitable trusts.

We include million dollar and million pound donations to charitable foundations and trusts because they are irrevocably committed to be spent for the public good. However, we recognise that including such figures risks ‘double counting’ when the original sum put into the foundation is added to the value of grants distributed over time from that same pot.

Although social investing or impact investing are related to the concepts of philanthropy, they are not considered donations and are not included in our data.

The charitable subsectors are based on the US National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities – Core Codes (NTEE-CC) and in line with the classifications used in the Million Dollar List compiled by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Though some definitions travel better than others from country to country, we decided to retain this typology to enable cross-national analysis. Further information is online at

Arts, Culture & Humanities

(e.g., museums, theatres, public broadcasting)

Educational Institutions

(e.g., K‐12 schools, libraries, scholarship funds)

Includes all organisations whose primary function is to educate, except those that focus on post‐secondary education.


(e.g., conservation funds, animal shelters, climate protection, zoos)

Includes any organisations focused on environmental issues, sustainability, and animal rights and protection.


(e.g., family foundations, corporate foundations, donor‐advised funds)

Include private and family foundations, as well as those associated with corporations.


(e.g., municipalities, federal agencies)


(e.g., independent hospitals, nursing homes, medical research centres)

Higher Education

(e.g., universities, university hospitals, university research centres)

Includes all colleges and universities, as well as their associated non-profit organisations,
such as medical and research facilities.

Human Services

(e.g., poverty prevention, crime and delinquency, food aid, child services)

Provide direct assistance and intervention to people such as youth development, domestic disaster relief, public safety and crime, employment, and housing organisations.

Recreation and sports organizations also fall under this heading, unless country context implies otherwise.


(e.g., an organisation based in the country in question that operates primarily outside that country. For example, the US database would include a gift given to an international development non-profit based in Washington, DC that conducts programs in many countries outside the US If a donor in China gives a gift to a Beijing‐based organisation that operates primarily in Africa, that gift would also be categorized as international in the China database).

The exception to this is the UK, where the ‘International’ category is used to refer to funding for international development, regardless of the location of the recipient charity. The reason for this difference is to enable year-on-year comparisons and trend analysis within the UK region. The UK Million Pound Donors Report (produced since 2008 by Coutts in association with the University of Kent) has always used ‘International’ to refer to international development.


(e.g., all organisations headquartered outside of the country in question)

For example, the US database would categorise a gift given from a US donor to an organisation based in another country as “overseas,” regardless of the mission of that organisation. If a donor in China gives a gift to Harvard University in the US, that gift would be categorised as “overseas” in the China database, and “higher education” in the US database.

Public/Society Benefit

(e.g., community foundations, independent social/scientific research).

Includes civil rights, social science research, science and technology, and community foundations.

Religious Organisations

(e.g., churches, synagogues, mosques, religious organisations)


These terms are used when the organisation’s mission or purpose is not known; when it falls outside the definition of any other subsector; and when one gift is made to multiple recipients with different subsectors.