More than ever before, people are giving back to their communities and to the world at large in the hopes of bettering our society as a whole. It seems that every successful entrepreneur and almost every corporation is pursuing acts of philanthropy. With so much giving, you may be wondering where exactly all of this money is going.
A recent study helps to clarify just where these generous gifts are and how they’re benefiting mankind. The study was conducted by Harvard Kennedy School and looked at how global philanthropy was dispersed. Unsurprisingly, as wealth levels around the world have risen, the researchers found that there has also been a rise in acts of philanthropy, accordingly. The three-year study wanted to learn how philanthropic trends varied by geographical location.
The study found that there were more than 260,000 philanthropic foundations, spread across 38 countries. Many of those organizations were found to be relatively new, indicating an upsurge in philanthropy in recent years. Of those 260,000 foundations, 72% had been established within the past 25 years. Additionally, the study found that acts of philanthropy were focused mostly in high income areas in more advanced countries. The majority were found in North America and Europe. The study found over 154,271 European philanthropic organizations, while there were 91,850 foundations scattered across North America.
Considering just how many organizations have been set up to disperse philanthropic donations, the research team wasn’t surprised to find that they were moving vast sums of money. In the United States alone, philanthropic foundations controlled over $890 billion in assets. Coming in second with around $109 billion was the Netherlands, while Germany took third place with $93 billion in assets. China also scored high on the list with their philanthropic organizations controlling over $14 billion. Also making the list of countries with the highest philanthropic contributions were Switzerland ($87.8 billion), Italy ($86.9 billion), and the United Kingdom ($84.2 billion). France, Spain, and Turkey also made the top 10 list, coming in just above China.
Increased wealth throughout the world has inspired many to give back to their respective communities. This trend towards altruism has allowed for more organizations to help those in need. On return, a cycle of giving seems to be perpetuating itself, inspiring more and more people to pursue philanthropic interests.