Million Dollar Donor Report

Family philanthropy is a key feature of major donor giving in Hong Kong.

Our Center worked with Coutts and the Indiana University Lily Family School of Philanthropy to generate the Million Dollar Donor Report - Hong Kong.  The research explores the scale and nature of donations of $1 million or more from philanthropists in Hong Kong. This is part of the international report which also covers the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, the Middle East (Gulf Cooperation Council), and China. Data gathered from the study in Hong Kong illustrates the scale and number of donations of $1 million or more, and the causes and geographies Hong Kong philanthropists focus on.

The Hong Kong report includes interviews with three major philanthropists including:

It also covers interviews with three major recipients of the million dollar donation:

Key Findings of the Million Dollar Donor Report

  • $877 million in total value from104 donations from 47 donors.
  • Million dollar donors based in Hong Kong donated overwhelmingly to Hong Kong based charities - More than one-in-five million dollar donations by number from donors based in Hong Kong went to mainland China. 83% of the million dollar gifts by value went to Hong Kong, while charities in mainland China received 12%.
  • The largest portion of million dollar gifts - 33% of the total value was 'banked' in foundations. The prominence of the foundation subsector is due to the highest-value gift identified from Dr Tin Ka Ping to his own foundation.  Without it, this subsector would have been among the least popular sectors.
  • The public and societal benefit subsector (which includes charities supporting civil rights and independent social and scientific research among others) and higher education institutions were the second and third most popular destinations in terms of the total value of million dollar donations, although higher education institutions received more gifts.

Findings are part of the first Coutts international report on million dollar donors covering six regions and totalling $19bn. Similarities Hong Kong philanthropy has with other regions covered in the international report include:

  • Foundations give more gifts - Foundations gave the largest number of gifts, but individuals donated more in terms of the total value. Nearly half (45%) of gifts, making up nearly 40% of the total value, came from foundations. In comparison, individuals contributed just over 26% of gifts, but they comprised 45% of the total value.
  • Charity begins at home - Million dollar donors based in Hong Kong donated overwhelmingly to Hong Kong based charities. The statistics show that 76% of the million dollar gifts in 2012 went to Hong Kong, while charities in mainland China received 21%.
  • Social investment's impact - Social enterprises, businesses that reinvest profits to achieve social goals rather than pay shareholders, become a growing phenomenon in Hong Kong.

Remarks from Coutts & CUHK Center for Family Business

Mark Evans, Managing Director, Coutts Institute, says: "We are delighted to be working with the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Centre for Family Business, and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, to put million dollar donors on the map in Hong Kong and around the world. Not only is it clear that individuals, foundations and corporations who are giving at this level are making a significant impact in areas such as higher education, it is also an opportunity to learn why they are making the decisions they are making and how. By understanding the causes and communities million dollar donors are passionate about, the ideas they have and the ways they like to work with others we hope to inspire and inform philanthropists, charities and others at all levels."

Kevin Au, Director, CUHK Center for Family Business, says: "Family philanthropy plays a vital role in the major giving landscape. Over half of these big donations by total value were made by family foundations, family businesses or their founders. As the next-generation family members expand their roles in their families' philanthropic activity, the giving philosophies will change. We are happy to see a positive momentum in social investment. Engaging the next-generation leaders in high-impact philanthropy will help preserve family legacies and create a more harmonious society. We in the academia are geared to this development of social entrepreneurship, joining hands with good philanthropy advisors and family philanthropists."

Visit the Coutt's website for the full report and findings.


Contact Miss Bertha Wang
Phone (852) 3943-7180
Fax (852) 2994-4363
Address   Room 951, 9/F, Cheng Yu Tung Building, The Chinese University of Hong Kong