The Sunday Times Giving List 2022

This weekend saw the publication of the CAF Sunday Times Giving List. Released alongside the Rich List, the Giving List highlights the charitable activities of wealthy individuals.

It ranks them on generosity level, by calculating the value of their charitable activities as a percentage of their overall wealth level. 2022’s Giving List is based upon the charitable activities of 2021.

Topping this year’s list is hedge fund manager Sir Christopher Hohn. Hohn is no stranger to giving, having been knighted in 2014 for services to UK philanthropy and international development.

His £347.4 million in donations (13.4% of his wealth) were made largely to climate action organisations, as well as children’s health and gender equality.

Environmental causes were also a key focus of businessman Alan Parker, who placed second. Parker contributed £251 million (8.97% of his wealth) to various environmental projects, as well as to child safeguarding, housing, and women-focussed charities.

Rounding off the top three is Sir Paul Marshall, whose contributions to areas including Covid-19, child disability and education totalled £58.9 million (8.66% of his wealth).

View the full List here.


What causes are being supported?

Climate, climate, climate.

Despite a global pandemic which saw billions of pounds being diverted to necessary medical causes, philanthropists did not lose site of the climate crisis. Neil Heslop, chief executive of Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), the Giving List’s official partner, said:

neil heslop giving list“The climate crisis has captured the attention of so many. The new generation of younger philanthropists are using their platforms to exert influence, and amplify the impact of significant sums of money responding to climate change.”

Beyond the environment, significant sums of money were contributed to Covid-19 relief efforts. Indeed, 1 in 5 individuals in the 2022 List donated to these, whether supporting vaccines, medical research or PPE. Community causes matched this engagement level, also receiving contributions from around a fifth of individuals on the List.

‘Education’ maintained its place as the top cause for donations, with 40% of the top 100 donating to education-related causes.


The generosity of celebrities

Last year’s List was topped by Marcus Rashford, who – incredibly – managed to raise £4 million more than his £16 million net worth (at the time) for food poverty relief. While this year’s List is not won by a celebrity, well-known figures continue to set a standard to follow.

Sir Lewis Hamilton was this year’s most generous sports star. His £20 million in donations to youth, education and employment-related causes saw him ranked in fifth place.

Liverpool forward Mo Salah placed 8th in the Giving List 2022. (Creative Commons licence)

Footballer Mo Salah’s health-related philanthropy made him the other sports pro to break into the top 10. His Liverpool teammate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain featured as the only other currently active football player to make the top 100.

A £350,000 donation from actor and model Cara Delevingne enabled the establishment of environmental charity Initiative Earth, placing her at #35. Elton John and Brian May were among four philanthropists who gave to HIV/AIDS causes.

Amal and George Clooney centred their giving around the Clooney Center for Justice. Its recent activities have supported freeing unjustly imprisoned journalists and advancing women’s rights.

And while former One Direction members Harry Styles and Niall Horan contributed a combined £1.4 million in 2021, Coldplay were the most generous band. Each member of Chris Martin’s group gave £500,000 to environmental and child-focussed initiatives.

cara delevingne giving list
Cara Delevingne’s donation has funded a new environmental charity. (Creative Commons licence).

Other famous faces to make the cut this year included: Stormzy (11th), J.K. Rowling (joint 15th), Martin Lewis (32nd), David and Victoria Beckham (joint 65th), and Lewis Capaldi (joint 68th).


Comparison to last year

NB: The 2022 Giving List only features the top 100 wealthy donors; previous lists contained the top 200 wealthy donors.

This year, a total of just under £2.5 billion was donated to charity by members of the Giving List. Concerningly, this is a drop of £1 billion when compared to last year’s top 100. There are multiple possible causes for this.

Beacon’s previous research into high-net-worth giving with Barclays showed that the biggest barriers to donations from wealthy individuals include the following:

  • 28% consider other financial obligations to be a higher priority.
  • 25% express concern at not having faith in how charities are run.
  • 25% express concern at not being able to control how their money is used.
  • 23% feel they don’t have sufficient knowledge about charities.

We know that unpredictability can cause donors of all levels to panic and limit or halt their donations. It could be that uncertainty around the impacts of Covid on finances led to increased hesitations around giving.

Last year’s Giving List saw a huge uptick in generosity triggered in large part by increased donations around the initial wave of Covid. It may also be possible that donations are returning to pre-pandemic levels as people feel the pandemic is ending.

Despite this, once source of encouragement is UK’s philanthropic response to the war in Ukraine. Emerging as one of the key countries in support of Ukraine, the UK has raised in excess of £100m philanthropically. This includes contributions from those featured in this year’s Giving List, like the Beckhams and J.K. Rowling.

Although these donations will not have registered on this year’s List (as they were not made in 2021), they are an encouraging reminder that many with resources are willing to support the public good.

The only question is how to ensure that their vital donations do not dry up when crises drop out of the media cycle.