Giving List value up, but proportion down

The Sunday Times Giving List reveals a near record level of giving by the UK’s richest in cash terms, but rising levels of wealth mean that on the whole, the proportion of wealth being given away has dropped.

The value of the Sunday Times Giving List of 100 of the UK’s wealthiest people increased by 21 per cent year-on-year to reach £1.77bn.

And donations from the 231 ultra high net worth individuals in the Sunday Times Rich List who made a donation at all topped £2.081bn – the second-highest amount in 12 years.

However, the growth of their giving has not kept pace with their wealth. The wealth of the richest 1,000 has reached a record high – £450bn. The increase in wealth is significant, with 11 new billionaires being added to the list between 2012 and 2013. 

To make it into the Giving List Top 50, a philanthropist had to give away 1.56 per cent of their wealth, compared with 1.81 per cent in 2012. To make it into the top 100 of the Rich List, Lord Sugar – who scraped in – had to record wealth of £860m. Still, this level of giving remains higher than average UK household giving, with figures from the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy recording an average of 0.4 per cent given to charity as a proportion of household spending.

David Kirch is this year’s number one giver, with a bullet. After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, the property tycoon pledged to give away his £100m fortune, and reportedly lives in modest circumstances in Jersey. According to the Sunday Times, Kirch has pledged his money to care for the elderly on the island; Jersey has a total population of just 98,000.

Other newcomers to the top 10 are hedge fund founder and poker star Talal Shakerchi, and Martin Lewis, who sold Moneysavingexpert last year and publicly announced his intention to give away a significant chunk of his profits. The rankings in the Giving List are determined by the proportion of wealth given away by the individual.

The top three givers, Kirch, Christopher Cooper-Hohn and Lord Sainsbury, all gave away nearly 50 per cent of their wealth or more. To make it into the top ten a Rich Lister had to give away more than 7.5 per cent of their wealth. Last year’s list was topped by artist David Hockney, who was reported to have given away twice his actual wealth.

CAF and NPC respond

Charities Aid Foundation, which works with the Sunday Times to compile the list, declared the level of donations and donors in the list “very good  news”.

“It’s great  to see successful entrepreneurs and high-profile people from the worlds of business, sport and entertainment supporting charities,” said CAF chief executive John Low. “Their example helps to build the nation’s culture of giving, of which we should all be proud.”

New Philanthropy Capital, however, drew attention to the shrinking proportion of the wealth which is being given away. “The Rich List suggests that despite difficult economic times there has been an increase in the wealth of many of those at the top and it is important and welcome that such people continue to donate,” said NPC chief Dan Corry.

“However, this year’s figures suggest philanthropists may have been giving away a smaller proportion of their wealth. This may be because as their fortunes have grown the amount they give has remained roughly constant.”

In line with the annual Coutts Million Pound Donor report, many of the ultra rich making donations cite education as one of their core areas of philanthropy.

This article was taken from Civil Society – http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/fundraising/news/content/14935/