For the past 10 years, Marts & Lundy has tracked large gifts to the higher education sector as well as to arts, cultural and environmental organizations as a means to provide a longitudinal analysis of the major giving landscape. While we publish a full report early each calendar year that reflects $10M+ gift summaries, we also pause at mid-year to study gifts through the first two quarters. Compared to all philanthropic giving, gifts of $10M+ continue to be relatively rare events that resist prediction, but these reports do provide snapshots of the state of philanthropy as it pertains to mega giving.
At the mid-year point for 2017, the count of $10M+ gifts to Higher Education is down by only one gift compared to 2016 Q1-2 and two gifts from 2015. The number of $10M+ gifts that had been made by mid-year in both 2015 and 2016 represented almost exactly 50 percent of the gifts made by the end of the year. If this trend continues, 2017 might be another year of more stable growth in $10M+ gifts compared to the rapid increase in gift count since the recession. After hitting a low of 56 $10M+ gifts in 2009, the gift count has risen by an average of 23 percent annually; growth from 2015 to 2016, however, was only 5 percent.
Arts & Culture
The 2017 mid-year count of $10M+ gifts to Arts, Culture and Environment also is only one gift behind mid-year 2016 but down six gifts from 2015. For both 2015 and 2016, the mid-year gift count represented 60 percent of the end of year total. If this trend holds for Arts, Culture and Environment $10M+ gifts, this subsector’s growth also will lag behind the dramatic year-over-year average growth since 2009 of 28 percent. With gifts of this size being relatively rare events, however, a few more gifts than expected would result in a sharp increase from 2016 to 2017.
Check back for our annual report on 2017 mega gifts, which will be published February 2018.