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September 23, 2014

Hong Kong Is Top Foreign Source of Big U.S. College Gifts

Gerald and Ronnie Chan's donations this month to Harvard and the University of Southern California buttress Hong Kong's standing as the biggest foreign source of major gifts to American universities, The Wall Street Journal writes. Donors from the autonomous Chinese region gave stateside schools $181-million from January 2007 to November 2013, according to U.S. Department of Education data—17 percent of donations from abroad to U.S. colleges.

"Hong Kong is seen as the New York of Asia," a place fundraisers must focus on because of the concentration of wealth there, said Amir Pasic, vice president for international operations at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Britain and Canada ranked second and third, accounting for $147.6-million and $136-million, respectively.

Mainland China, which accounts for a quarter of foreign students at U.S. universities, providing 3.5 percent of higher-education gifts from abroad, the Journal also reports. Wealthy Chinese are less likely than their global peers to donate outside their homeland, according to surveys of high-net-worth individuals.