Corporations and corporate foundations continued to play a dominant role in million dollar giving in the GCC in 2014. 

While million dollar donations came from virtually all of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in 2014, 20 of the 34 donations came from the UAE. However, Saudi Arabia produced  the highest monetary value of donations, with its six gifts accounting for 54% of the total value from GCC countries ($480m versus $337m from UAE).

Overseas remained a dominant destination for million dollar gifts. In 2014, gifts went as far afield as Pakistan and the UK, though they generally tend to be directed within the Arab world; with Egypt and Palestine (specifically Gaza) featuring heavily this year. Overseas gifts were primarily directed in support of disaster relief, international aid and human services. 

Number and total

While the number of donations dwindled only slightly, the overall value of donations fell by almost $963m compared to 2013 mainly due to a non-repeating mega-gift. 



Total value of donations worth $1m+


Total number of $1m+ donations

A total of 34 donations worth a million dollars or more were identified in GCC countries in 2014, with a combined value of $894m. The number of donations was down slightly on the 2013 figure of 38, whereas the total monetary value of donations dropped substantially.

A significant portion of the total value of 2014 donations stemmed from three mega-grants, each worth over $100m.  

Average size of million dollar donations

The mean donation value was down due to a non-repeating billion dollar gift in 2013, but both the median and mode were higher in 2014.

The mean donation in 2014 was a strong $26.3m, but still short of 2013’s lofty level. However, the median (the middle value when all are placed in ascending order) donation is often a better guide to the general size of gifts and was higher than the previous year, at $5.2m. The mode was $2m in 2014, versus $1m in the previous two years.  



in 2014


in 2013


in 2012



in 2014


in 2013


in 2012




in 2014


in 2013


in 2012

Value of million dollar donations

Most grants were in the $2m - $10m range.

Half of all million dollar donations were valued between $2m and $10m, while 35% were above that level. The remaining 15% were worth up to $2m.  

The largest gift identified was a grant by the Saudi Fund for Development, worth $232m. This was given to the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation in Jordan as part of a larger foreign aid donation.  

The second-largest gift was a donation from His Excellency Obaid Khalifa Al Jaber Al Marri, Chairman of Al Jaber Group. Worth $149.6m, this was donated to a children’s cancer hospital in Egypt. 

The third-largest gift, worth $104m, was a donation from the Saudi Islamic Development Bank to support the UN World Food Programme in meeting the urgent need for food distribution to the millions of refugees sheltering in countries neighbouring Syria, as well as Ethiopia and Kenya. 


Source of million dollar donations

Corporations and corporate foundations made 44% of donations and contributed 68% of the total value. 

Corporations and corporate foundations contributed 15 of the 34 million dollar gifts, while foundations gave 13 and individuals 6. Corporations and corporate foundations contributed 68% of the total value of donations, while individuals and foundations pledged 18% and 14% respectively. The number and value of gifts was more evenly dispersed between donor categories than previously.  




14% of total value in 2014




18% of total value in 2014




68% of total value in 2014

Location of million dollar donations

Most GCC countries produced million dollar donors, but the UAE had the largest concentration by some margin.

Million dollar donations were identified from five out of the six GCC countries in 2014. Donors from the UAE provided the greatest amount of gifts (20), accounting for 38% of the total value. Saudi Arabia gave the second-highest number of donations (6), but contributed 54% of the overall value due to two gifts in excess of $100m. Four million dollar gifts stemmed from Qatar, representing around 5% of the total value. The remaining two gifts each came from Kuwait and Bahrain.



53.7% Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

37.7% United Arab Emirates

5.4% Qatar

3.1% Bahrain

0.1% Kuwait




Recipients of million dollar donations

The vast majority of recipients received a single donation of a million dollars or above.

Of the 34 donations pledged during 2014, 27 organisations received a single donation, with one receiving three and two receiving two gifts. The UN World Food Programme received $109m from two donations, more than 10% of the overall value.


Distribution of million dollar donations

The vast majority of donations went overseas in 2014, with disaster relief, international aid and human services claiming significant shares. 

In 2014, funding was distributed among a variety of groups for three main purposes: foreign aid and disaster relief; health; and various human service projects.

Half of the number of overseas donations was devoted to disaster relief and aid, not just in the GCC region but more widely, covering the Philippines, Palestine, Syria and Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries.

Human services was also a significant beneficiary, with around 24% of all donations falling into this category. Education received comparatively little funding in comparison to the previous year, with two donations amounting to just over $4m. 





34 donations of $1m+


Overseas [1]


24 donations of $1m+


Human Services


8 donations of $1m+




2 donations of $1m+


[1] ‘Overseas’ refers to organisations headquartered outside the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, which are the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.