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Welcome to the 2017 edition of Giving magazine

We proudly present the fourth edition of Giving, City A.M.’s annual magazine about world philanthropy and giving trends both inside and outside of London.

Every year, as Christmas gets closer and the days grow shorter, family, friends and colleagues come together, and parties and presents are at the top of our minds. Simultaneously, feelings of empathy towards the less fortunate seem to grow stronger at this time of the year.

After all, it was at Christmas that Charles Dickens’ Scrooge turned from an old miser into a kind, generous and compassionate person, didn’t he? But giving isn’t something that only happens in December. It’s being done throughout the year, year after year, by people all around the world, for an infinity of reasons.

It’s being done by large philanthropists and good hearted individuals. It takes the form of money, goods, time, energy and attention. “Everyone can give” says one of our charity experts, Cheryl Chapman, the director of City Philanthropy.

Proof is found in 20 London Boroughs where disadvantage and inequality is being tackled by strong community collaboration. The list of the world’s biggest charity donors, published here for the seventh year in a row, has become an eagerly awaited event in the charity calendar.

A special focus in this edition of the magazine is the diversity of sources of giving. From households, bequests and foundations, to companies and charity lotteries. And let’s not forget celebrities, such as our sparkling cover model, Emma Thompson, and the incredible Sir David Attenborough, both interviewed in these pages. Both donate their time, energy and perhaps fame, with passion.

On behalf of all at City A.M. I wish you and your families all the very best for 2018.

- Christian May, editor

The World Charity Donor Index 2017

1. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
2. Wellcome Trust
3. Novamedia /Postcode Lotteries
4. La Caixa Foundation
5. Hong Kong Jockey Club
6. The Walton Family Foundation
7. Ford Foundation
8. William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
9. W.K. Kellogg Foundation
10. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
11. Lilly Endowment
12. David and Lucile Packard Foundation
13. Church Commissioners
14. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
15. Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
16. Margaret A. Cargill Foundation
17. Mastercard Foundation
18. John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
19. John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
20. The Simons Foundation

Giving magazine: Read more

Prof dr Theo Schuyt on City A.M.’s unique ranking of charitable giving from the private sector, and on the increasing importance of philanthropy in this age of corporate responsibility

It is an honour to present the 7th edition of City A.M.’s World Charity Donor list, which grows in stature with each passing year. Global interest in the performances of foundations – the many newcomers as well as the established ones – is ever-growing, with hardly a day going by without news about good causes, venture philanthropy, and corporate and civic commitment.

The ranking covers foundations and other institutional private donors, both of which increasingly contribute to the growing philanthropic financial flows. Philanthropic efforts presented in this ranking aside, it is worth highlighting that international development aid foundations donated an estimated $10.2bn (£7.6bn) in 2015, according to the French Ministry of Development Aid and the VU University Amsterdam. European Research Foundations, meanwhile, donate approximately €5bn (£4.4bn) to the European knowledge economy, according to Eufori. In other words: foundation philanthropy matters.

But foundations are not the only players in this field. Two countries – the US and the Netherlands – conduct overall macro-economic research on philanthropy: Giving USA, which has been going since 1955, and Giving in the Netherlands, which started in 1997. This year a first draft of the Giving in Europe study was presented at the Spring of Philanthropy event of the King Baudouin Foundation in Brussels.

These studies distinguish between households, bequests, foundations, companies and charity lotteries (the latter category is not mentioned in Giving USA).

Households are the biggest givers, while bequests or legacies are an up-and-coming source due to demographic developments. Researchers in the US, supported by their EU colleagues, speak of The Golden Age of Philanthropy. In Western Europe and the US we are now seeing the largest intergenerational financial transfer in history; something from which philanthropy will surely profit. Corporate foundations have also flourished, especially as corporate social responsibility has become a vested business principle in recent years.

Charity lotteries are special and need some explanation. In the past, gambling was forbidden in Europe for religious reasons. Many great minds tried to work out how to allow the human inclination to this “evil” (but thrilling) behavior while also limiting its more negative connotations. A wonderful solution was found by linking “bad” and “good”: gambling and good causes. By buying lottery tickets, people hope to win on one hand, while knowing they support charities on the other. Charity lotteries are an important source for philanthropy; in the Netherlands for example they accounted for more than a €500m in 2015.

Back to the 2017 list: as we stated in earlier versions, ranking and the research that underlines it is difficult and, by its nature, an ongoing process. We have focused on foundations who derive their funds from an endowment or a structural single private source of revenue, and does not solicit direct funds from the public. Therefore, foundations primarily dependent on fundraising from the public, and community foundations/donor advised funds (supported by a broad range of private donors), are excluded from the study. Institutional private charity donors, such as charity lotteries, are included in the study.

The more data that becomes available, the more philanthropic institutions become visible and publicly accountable, the more the ranking will grow. So here’s to a list that, like a fine wine, will only get better over time. I hope you enjoy reading it.