Corporations provided the majority of Singapore’s million dollar gifts in 2013.

Corporations and corporate foundations were the main source of million dollar donations in 2013, accounting for over three quarters (77%) of the total value.

Higher education was the most popular destination for big donations. Capacity building for social sector organisations (broadly speaking, helping to develop their management and organisational capacity, rather than funding the projects they run) also featured prominently, although the numbers were influenced by one large grant for this purpose.

Donations of a million dollars or more by individuals were relatively few and far between, but this may be because giving continues to be a family affair in Singapore and many individuals choose to give through their family foundations. 

Number and total

Singapore donors gave 38 gifts of a million dollars or more in 2013.



Total value of donations worth $1m+


Total number of $1m+ donations

In 2013, 38 million dollar donations, with a combined value of $713m, were identified in Singapore. Three-quarters of these came from corporations or corporate foundations.

Average size of million dollar donations

$18.8m was the average size of million dollar gift in 2013.

The average million dollar donation in 2013 was $18.8m. However, the mean can be influenced by outliers and the median value (the middle figure in the series when they are placed in ascending order), which was $4m, is often a more reliable guide to donation size.



In 2013



In 2013


Not Supplied

Value of million dollar donations

The largest of 2013’s million dollar donations came from a corporation.

The biggest corporate donor over the year was the Tote Board, with a donation of $336m (as well as regulating gaming, the Tote Board channels some of the revenues from gaming into social causes).

The Yong Loo Lin Trust gave the largest private/family foundation gift, with $20m donated to cancer research and education.

The biggest individual donation was $9.7m, nearly 16% of the total value of all individual donations. This was for the establishment of the Margaret Lien Centre for Professional Success at the Nanyang Technological University which will offer training in career development skills. 


Source of million dollar donations

Over three quarters of the value of million dollar donations in 2013 came from corporations.

A total of 28 gifts came from corporations and corporate foundations. This amounted to $547m and accounted for 74% of the total number of million dollar donations and 77% of the total value. Foundations and individual donors contributed $104m and $62m respectively, or 14.5% and 8.5% of the total value of million dollar gifts.

Conspicuous among the corporate donors were statutory boards (‘statboards’), which are organisations mandated by the government to perform a particular function on its behalf. Statboards are not part of the formal government structure, and typically have greater autonomy and flexibility than government departments. Statboards provided 72% of the value of the million dollar gifts from corporations and corporate foundations. 




14.5% of total value in 2013




8.5% of total value in 2013




77% of total value in 2013

Location of million dollar donations

All donors were either domiciled or based in Singapore.

Because Singapore is small, no analysis of the location of donors was undertaken. However, as far as the research was able to ascertain, all donors either lived, were headquartered or otherwise had a significant presence in Singapore. 

Recipients of million dollar donations

Domestic organisations were the recipients of all million dollar donations.

In 2013, 93 organisations received donations, meaning that the number of recipients was much higher than the number of donations made. This is because a number of gifts were split between several recipients; that is, not all beneficiaries received a million dollars. For example, a $1.5m gift from a corporation went to 59 social enterprises (recipient organisations), while a $2.2m donation (from a fundraising event) was split between six charities.

All recipients of million dollar donations were Singapore-based organisations.


total recipients

in 2013

Distribution of million dollar donations

Higher education was the most popular destination for million dollar donations.

In 2013, the largest portion of million dollar giving went to higher education institutions (HEIs), accounting for 43% ($306m) of the total value of gifts. Strikingly, almost all of the donations made by foundations and individuals went to this sub-sector.

The second most popular cause, receiving 34.5% of the total value of million dollar donations, was public and societal benefit programmes. This was almost entirely the result of a $244m social service fund from the Tote Board to support social service programmes for disadvantaged communities, capability building initiatives to raise social service standards, and capital projects of voluntary welfare organisations (not-for-profit welfare organisations).





38 donations of $1m+


Higher education


20 donations of $1m+


Public & societal benefit


2 donations of $1m+


Human services


10 donations of $1m+


Arts, Culture & humanities


2 donations of $1m+




2 donations of $1m+


Education (not universities)


2 donations of $1m+