The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave away more than £2bn in charitable grants last year, more than any other foundation in the world, with the UK-based Wellcome Trust the second-biggest grant-maker.
The City AM World Charity Index 2014, produced by the newspaper alongside the Center for Philanthropic Studies at the VU University Amsterdam, lists the top 20 grant-makers globally for money given away last year, based on the last available accounts or tax reports.
It shows that the Gates Foundation gave away £2.2bn last year, an increase from just under £2bn the year before. It has 1,227 staff and an endowment worth more than £27bn. It makes grants to all 50 US states and more than 100 countries globally. The Wellcome Trust gave away £581.5m, a rise of £16.7m on the year before.
The top five is completed by Novamedia, the Netherlands-based operator of Postcode Lotteries in the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, which gave away £470.3m, Spain’s La Caixa Foundation (£309m) and the US’s Silicon Valley Community Foundation (£231.8m).
The global top 20 includes 13 US foundations. The UK is the only nation with more than one entrant: alongside the Wellcome Trust is the Church Commissioners for England, which is in eighth position and gave away £207.8m.
The Atlantic Philanthropies (16th position, £136.7m) is also listed as a UK organisation in the ranking, but is actually based in Bermuda.
The UK is the country with the most entrants in the European rankings – in addition to the aforementioned, this list includes the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Wolfson Foundation.
The study also includes a list of lifetime donors – the Gates Foundation tops this having given away £19.3bn since its creation in 2000. Next come the Wellcome Trust (founded in 1936, lifetime giving of £10.1bn), the Rockefeller Foundation (1913, £9bn) and the Open Society Foundation (1979, £7bn), both US-based, and Novamedia (1989, £5.2bn).