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ME million dollar donors gave $727m in 2012

Dubai, November 12, 2013

The Middle Eastern million dollar donors gave at least $727 million in 2012 of which 71 per cent went to charities in non-GCC Arab countries, said a report.

Million dollar donations were identified from all 6 countries of the GCC in 2012. Data collected for this report is likely to be just a small portion of the true picture of one million dollar giving, as much of the philanthropy in the Middle East goes unpublicised, stated Coutts, a private bank and a wealth manager, in its first international Million Dollar Donors Report prepared in association with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

On the global scale, the total donations amounted to $19 billion, said the report which explores the scale and nature of donations of $1 million or more from philanthropists in the GCC countries.

Besides the Middle East, the report also covers China, Hong Kong, Russia, the UK and US. These findings are part of the first Coutts international report on million dollar donors covering six regions.

In the UK, Coutts has been producing the Million Pound Donors Report since 2008.  The new multi-region report is a leading authority on donations of $1 million-plus internationally.
 
According to the report, the donors in the UAE topped the GCC list with the highest number of $1 million gifts with nine in total, amounting to over $232 million, or 32 per cent of the total amount of donations made by the GCC countries.

About half of those donations went to domestic charities to support housing and education, stated the report.

The donors in Kuwait gave the second-highest number of gifts (eight), 29 per cent of the total number of GCC gifts. Most of the gifts from Kuwait (75 per cent) went to a wide variety of overseas charities addressing a range of issues such as disaster relief and international security research.

According to the report, three gifts from the region broke the $100 million barrier, including a $200 million Kuwaiti donation.

Unlike other non-GCC regions covered in the report where most of the donors tend to focus on supporting organisations in their home country, two thirds of the value of million dollar gifts from the Gulf region or 71 per cent, went to overseas charities – most of which were non-GCC Arab countries.

The largest donations went to higher education projects in Qatar, food relief in Yemen and general development projects in non-Arab Asian countries, the report added.

Higher Education is the most popular destination across the regions studied accounting for 37 per cent of $1m+ donations - 19 per cent of the value of million dollar donations in the GCC region going for higher education.

Coutts pointed out that the data gathered for the GCC countries, which was produced in association with the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the American University in Cairo and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, through publicly available information, illustrated the scale and number of donations of $1 million or more and the causes and geographies Middle Eastern philanthropists focus on.

Data collected for this report is likely to be just a small portion of the true picture of one million dollar giving, as much of the philanthropy in the Middle East goes unpublicised, said the top private banker in the report.

"We have deliberately not made any direct comparisons of donation numbers or levels between regions in the report due to the diverse nature of the social, cultural, political and economic landscapes meaning that philanthropy is at very different stages of development," it added.

Nevertheless, philanthropy on the part of individuals and foundations in GCC countries stands out for the following reasons:

*Focus on overseas: In contrast to other countries in the report, the majority of $1 million donations (71 per cent) went to charities outside the country of the donor (overseas). Out of a total of 28 $1 million gifts, twenty were distributed to charities in a wide variety of countries especially to non-GCC Arab countries – some 40 per cent of the gifts were given to disaster relief charities overseas, particularly to Syria.

*Altruism: Giving to charity is deeply rooted in the Arab culture and in Islam. Much of the philanthropy undertaken in the region goes unpublicised, the concept being that once people talk about their good deeds they erase the altruism in their motives. This is however changing, with philanthropists in the region choosing to speak about their philanthropy and the causes or organisations they support in order to inspire others to consider giving.

The research for the GCC revealed that a total of at least 28 donations from the Middle East (worth over $1 million) with a combined value of $727 million were made in 2012, including one gift of $200 million from a donor in Kuwait.

About 32 per cent of all million dollar donations made by the GCC countries were worth more than $10 million, while three gifts from the region broke the $100 million barrier.

Unlike other regions where most of the donors tend to focus on supporting organisations in their home country- overseas gifts accounted for just 5.6 per cent of the total value in four out of the six regions, two thirds of the value of million dollar gifts from the GCC, or 71 per cent, went to overseas charities, with 19 per cent going for higher education and 15 per cent for human services.

Nearly half of the total value of all donations from the GCC came from individual donors, according to the report.

Donors in the UAE gave the highest number of gifts with nine in total, amounting to more than $232 million, or 32 per cent of the total amount of donations made by the GCC countries. About half of those donations went to domestic charities to support housing and education.

Amir Sadr, the co-head for Coutts Middle East, said: "We are delighted to put million dollar donors on the map in the GCC and around the world. Not only is it clear that individuals, foundations and corporations who are giving at this level are making a significant impact in areas such as higher education, it's also an opportunity to learn why they are making the decisions they are making and how."

"By understanding the causes and communities million dollar donors are passionate about, the ideas they have and the ways they like to work with others we hope to inspire and inform philanthropists, charities and others at all levels," he added.

Dr Barbara Ibrahim, the founding director, John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the American University in Cairo, said: “As Gulf economies mature, we're seeing a corresponding move toward more strategic decisions about how philanthropic donations are invested. The report includes data for that region for the first time this year, and the findings are impressive: major donations make a significant difference in quality health services and education."

"Gulf donors are also internationally-minded, often supporting causes far from home. The John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the American University in Cairo was pleased to provide research support for the report, and we hope the findings will encourage others to invest robustly in the future of the Middle East and beyond,” she added.
 
Clare Woodcraft, CEO of the UAE-based Emirates Foundation said: "We know well the generosity of the UAE when it comes to philanthropic giving. The UAE is one of only four countries in the world to have met the UN giving target but we also see great generosity at the level of the individual and the institution."

"What’s now important is to see this philanthropic capital deployed effectively and ensure that we can create real social impact that is measureable and sustainable. This is the essence of the Emirates Foundation Philanthropy Summit that we are hosting this week where we are meeting with our peers to share lessons learned and best practice," Woodcraft stated.

"The Coutts report is a strong authoritative contribution to this debate and we are glad to have been part of it both in an advisory and a participatory capacity," she added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Middle East | philanthropy |

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