This report identifies charitable donations worth $1m or more that were made during calendar year 2012, either by donors in the US, Russia, China, Hong Kong and the Middle East (GCC) countries 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 for the calendar year 2012.

In the US, data on million dollar giving has been collected as part of the Million Dollar List since 2000; and in the UK, the Coutts Million Pound Donor Report has been published since 2008. To our knowledge, in other countries or regions profiled in the report, this is the first time that this data has been collected.

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 2012: in Russia, 30 million roubles; in China, 6m RMB (Chinese Yuan); and in Hong Kong, 7.5m Hong Kong dollars.

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 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, with the exception of Russia, where we exclude corporate gifts. 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.

The charitable subsectors are those used in the Million Dollar List, which is 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

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.

A list and brief examples of the charitable subsectors are as follows:

Arts, Culture, and Humanities

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

Educational Institutions

(e.g. K-12 schools, libraries, scholarship funds). This category includes all educational institutions apart from higher education


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


(e.g. family foundations, corporate foundations, donor-advised funds, charitable trusts). When foundations donate identified gifts, we consider corporate foundations under the broader 'corporations' category. When foundations receive identified gifts, we place them all under one umbrella, no matter the type of foundation


(e.g. municipalities, federal agencies, government development and relief work). This category does not include political giving, which is not within the scope of our data collection on philanthropy


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

Higher Education

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

Human Services

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


an organisation based in the country in question that operates primarily outside that country


an organisation headquartered outside of the country in question. For example, a gift from a donor in the US to a hospital in the UK would be categorized as overseas rather than as health for the US database

Public/Society Benefit

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

Religious Organisations

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