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$10-Million-Plus Gifts to Higher Education Increased in 2016

The number of mega gifts to higher education institutions in the United States has grown by more than 11 percent, according to a special report.

$10M+ Gifts to Higher Education reports that the higher education sector saw an 11 percent increase in gifts of $10 million or more. These mega gifts continue to drive large campaigns at colleges and universities. This year, these gifts totaled $6.18 billion and 194 gifts for the institutions included in the report.

However, the number of $50 million-plus gifts decreased by almost a third in 2016 compared to 2015. While the report acknowledges that this can be on account of the small number of $50 million-plus gifts, the slowdown could be due to the presidential election and anticipation of potential tax law changes.

"This report of $10M+ gifts paired with The Philanthropy Outlook 2017 & 2018 further supports our belief that philanthropy will continue to advance in the coming two years with forecasts of growth in giving to higher education averaging more than 6 percent over each of the next two years," says Donald M. Fellows, senior consultant and principal leader of the higher education practice at Marts & Lundy, which sponsored the survey. "And we see no signs of a slowdown among our more than 100 current Higher Education clients."

Other findings include:

  • Colleges and universities continue to dominate other nonprofit sectors in receiving gifts of more than $10 million. 
  • In 2016, higher education institutions received about 60 percent of all gifts committed at the $10 million level or higher.
  • Institutions in California, New York and Oregon are the three highest recipients of higher education mega gifts.

This article is from the April 2017 BriefCASE issue of BriefCASE.