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Total value of philanthropic gifts shrinks

The rich are making more million-pound-plus philanthropic donations, despite a decrease in the total amount given, according to a report by private bank Coutts and the University of Kent.

The rich are making more million-pound-plus philanthropic donations, despite a decrease in the total amount given, according to a report by private bank Coutts and the University of Kent.

A total of 232 million-pound-plus donations to the value of £1.241 billion (€1.54 billion) were made in 2010/2011, found the Million Pound Donor Report.

This was the highest number of donations since the study, which tracks the size, scale and recipients of donations over the £1 million mark, began in 2008, although the total amount donated fell from £1.312 billion in 2009/2010.

"Large-scale philanthropy is on the increase and the more donors there are and the more they communicate about the benefits their philanthropy brings to society and what it means to them personally, the more it will grow and strengthen a new generation of philanthropists,” said Maya Prabhu, executive director of UK philanthropy at Coutts, in a statement.

A total of 130 different donors, including high net worth individuals, corporations, charitable trusts and foundations, were behind this year's million-pound-plus gifts, up from 73 in 2009/2010.

Dr Beth Breeze from the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent and co-author of the report said: "At a time when ordinary donors are finding it tough to maintain their support for charities, it is heartening to see those with a greater capacity to give are stepping up to the challenge in increased numbers."

More than half of the donations went directly to charities, an increase from £631 million to £747 million, while 40% were put aside in charitable trusts and foundations.

"Despite the scepticism suggesting that many large-scale donors are simply looking to make the most of 'tax breaks' on offer, our experience, as backed up by this report, is that the reality is very different,” added Prabhu.

Higher education, arts and culture, and international development received a big chunk of the million-pound donations, with older establishments such as Oxbridge, Cambridge and national arts and cultural institutions receiving multiple big donations. 

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