May 20, 2011

Big Gifts Make a Comeback

While many charities are still struggling to raise money in the face of a sluggish economy, giving by America's wealthiest donors appears to be making a comeback.

From January 1 through May 15, The Chronicle has confirmed 225 donations of $1-million or more totaling close to $2.4-billion. That is at least $1-billion more than in 2010, when 145 such donations accounted for more than $1.3-billion.

And donations of $100-million or more also surged this year. In fact, gifts of that size have more than doubled since 2010. Six donations of $100-million or more, totaling $835-million, were announced from January 1 to May 15, compared with only two such donations (totaling $300-million) in the same period of 2010.

The three largest gifts awarded so far this year include a $225-million pledge to the University of Pennsylvania from Raymond G. and Ruth Perelman, followed by two large donations to the University of Southern California: a $200-million pledge from David and Dana Dornsife, and $110-million from John and Julie Mork.