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Million dollar donations fell in Russia in 2014, though the longer-term trend since 2011 is a positive one. 

Both the number and value of million dollar donations fell in 2014 from the previous year. There appear to be a number of causes. First, there appear to have been fewer corporate and individual donors amid the weakening domestic economic backdrop. Second, volatility in the exchange rate over the year (with the Russian rouble depreciating sharply) meant that the cut off point used for Russian donations was increased from 30 roubles to the US dollar to 40 roubles.

But the comparison also suffers from the fact that donations in 2013 were particularly high. That said, given the continued lack of information publicly available about donations in Russia, it is likely that the scale of million dollar gifts remains higher than we report.  

In addition to the value of donations, a further difference over the previous year was that the sources and distribution of donations in 2014 were more intensely concentrated in Moscow and the wider Central region. Foundations, human services and the government remained the main recipients; around a third of donations found their way to foundations, while almost a quarter of the number and half of the value of corporate donations went to government causes.

Number and total

A total of 74 donations was given in 2014, amounting to $405.9m – more than half of this amount came from corporations.

Some 74 charitable donations worth a million dollars or more were identified in Russia in 2014, with a total value of $405.9m. That’s a decrease from 2013 levels, but the comparison suffers from the unusually high number and value of donations in that year – the figures look much healthier set in the context of the overall trend since 2011.



Total value of donations worth $1m+


Total number of $1m+ donations





Total value of donations worth $1m+


Total number of $1m+ donations





Total value of donations worth $1m+


Total number of $1m+ donations





Total value of donations worth $1m+


Total number of $1m+ donations



Average size of million dollar donations

The average donation was $5.5m in 2014.

The average donation of $5.5m was lower in 2014 compared to 2013’s $8m – partly due to a couple of very significant gifts in 2013. The median (the middle value when all are placed in ascending order) was $2m, while the mode (the number that occurs most frequently) was $1m.




in 2014


in 2013


in 2012


in 2011



in 2014


in 2013


in 2012


in 2011



in 2014


in 2013


in 2012


in 2011

Value of million dollar donations

Nearly a fifth of gifts were above the $10m mark, making up 62% of the total value.

In 2014, nearly half of all million dollar gifts (47% or 35 gifts) were in the $1m-$2m category, a slight increase on 2013 (44%). A further 35% were in the $2m-$10 range (37% in 2013).

Gifts in excess of $10m remained fairly stable over the previous year, making up some 18%.


Source of million dollar donations

Corporate donors replaced individuals as the primary source, giving over half the total value of million dollar donations in 2014.

Corporations were the standout donors in 2014, contributing more than half the number of million dollar donations (41) and their value (53%).

Among the individuals, six of the 12 donors made up 79% of the total value of individual donations.

The foundation sector was the least prolific – making 21 million dollar gifts totalling 10% of the value. But this is largely due to the fact that foundations tend to allocate their resources over longer periods of time and tend to give smaller amounts in any given year.




10% of total value in 2014




37% of total value in 2014




53% of total value in 2014

Location of million dollar donations

Activity was concentrated in the Central region (including Moscow), providing over 80% of donations.

Some 82% of the total value of donations were made by donors in the Central region. This regional concentration was evident among all donor types – corporations, foundations and individuals – but was most marked among individuals (with 11 of the 12 donations by individuals stemming from that area).

Donations by foundations were more widely spread, with 33% (or 7 donations, representing $9.8m) of the total number of donations from overseas.

Recipients of million dollar donations

Over two thirds of recipients were located in Moscow and the wider Central region.

As with the source of donations, beneficiaries were concentrated in the Central region, including Moscow (69%). This is notably higher than 2013, when the corresponding number was 49%. Interestingly, 10% of the total value ($41m) was spread among two causes in the North Caucuses, due to a sizeable donation of $40m from one individual donor.

The majority of recipients (90%) received a single million dollar donation, with one given six gifts and four other organisations receiving two or three.


total recipients

in 2014

Distribution of million dollar donations

Foundations, government and human services remained the most popular causes.

Foundations were the leading recipients of large donations (24), followed some way behind by human services (13) and government causes. Corporations were a leading donor to government programmes, providing 9 of the 10 gifts (the last came from a foundation).

Around half the number and value of donations given by individuals were to foundations. The remaining funds from individuals were split evenly between higher education, human services and overseas causes.

Overseas organisations received only three gifts in 2014 compared with nine in 2013, but still ranked fourth in terms of the total value of gifts. Education, higher education and arts, culture & humanities came next in line according to monetary value.

The number of donations made to foundations means that much of the consequent benefits are likely to be felt in years to come rather than immediately. Foundations tend to distribute gifts over time and often spread these among a large number of smaller beneficiaries.





74 donations of $1m+




24 donations of $1m+




10 donations of $1m+


Human services


13 donations of $1m+




3 donations of $1m+


Education (not universities)


3 donations of $1m+


Higher Education


8 donations of $1m+


Arts, Culture & Humanities


5 donations of $1m+


Environment & Animals  


3 donation of $1m+




2 donations of $1m+




2 donations of $1m+


Public & societal benefit


1 donation of $1m+


[1] ‘Overseas’ refers to organisations headquartered outside Russia.