The size of the biggest gifts from rich donors and their foundations fell significantly in 2015 compared with 2014, according to an analysis by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. This could be a blip or an interesting trend. Many nonprofits see ups and downs from year to year. That can be a challenge. When it happens to the industry in general, it may be time to pay attention to what is going on.
The biggest gift of 2015 was a bequest from the Texas businessman John Santikos, who left property, assets, and cash worth about $605 million to the San Antonio Area Foundation. The money will create a fund that will support five causes: people in need, especially the elderly and victims of child abuse and disasters; youth and education; public libraries, parks, and museums; health care; and medical research. He was 87 when he died late in 2014.
The second-largest gift was $400 million, and the size of the largest gifts in 2015 fell substantially from there. Donors were particularly fond of the $100-million figure in 2015, with 13 gifts clocking in at that amount.