Philanthropic giving among UHNW individuals exceeds $150b
- January 1, 2020: Vol. 7, Number 1

Philanthropic giving among UHNW individuals exceeds $150b

by Mike Consol

Ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals — those with a net worth of at least $30 million — gave a total of $153 billion toward philanthropic endeavors in 2018 — roughly equivalent to all U.S. federal government spending on healthcare, education and energy expected for 2019, according to The New Normal: Trends in UHNW Giving 2019, the fourth edition of Wealth-X’s report focused on philanthropic giving by the world’s wealthiest individuals.

The report estimates that in the United States alone, the ultra-wealthy population accounts for between 20 percent and 30 percent of all individual giving, underscoring the great potential for nonprofit organizations to meet fundraising goals by engaging a relatively small group of major donors.

According to the report, at $75 billion, North America accounted for nearly half of all philanthropic gifts made by UHNW individuals globally. Nearly nine in every 10 UHNW individuals, meanwhile, direct part of their philanthropic efforts to education, making it the leading cause of giving among ultra-wealthy donors (those UHNW individuals who have donated a minimum of $50,000 over the past five years).

Younger ultra-wealthy donors take a more targeted approach to giving, with those younger than age of 45 tending to be more passionate about one or two causes they are both financially and practically involved with.

Philanthropy is the most popular hobby among billionaires, according to Wealth-X’s 2019 Billionaire Census. In addition to education, mentioned above, the arts are also among billionaires’ favorite causes to donate to. Thrive Global lists the world’s 10 most generous philanthropic billionaires, as of September 2018, as: Bill Gates (Microsoft), Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway), George Soros (financier), Azim Premji (Indian investor and chairman of IT company Wipro Ltd.), Charles Feeney (known as the “James Bond of philanthropy” for his undercover charitable giving), Carlos Slim (Mexico business mogul),  Sulaiman bin Abdulaziz Al Rajhi (Saudi billionaire who amassed his fortune in banking), Gordon Moore (co-founder of Intel), Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg Media) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook).


Mike Consol ( is editor of Real Assets Adviser. Follow him on Twitter @mikeconsol to read his latest postings.


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