Britain’s wealthiest continue to prove their generosity; “the super-rich are engaged in unprecedented levels of giving. They are more directly engaged in the distribution of that money than ever before.”

According to the Sunday Times Rich List Giving Index, almost $4.65 bn. (May 9 exchange rates) has been given away or pledged by the leading 30 philanthropists among Britain’s richest 1,000 individuals. This is nearly double the $2.36 bn. given last year, and more than five times the amount given in 2006.

The Giving Index ranks Rich List members by the proportion of their total wealth donated to charity over the preceding 12 months. The average Giving Index for the top 30 donors was 26.42 in 2008, almost treble that of 9.36 last year (the median almost doubled, to 7.97 from 4.33).

The most popular causes were education, children and youth, humanitarian, and medical, with a more engaged and involved approach being reflected in the predominantly self-made male and female donors.

Alastair McCall, Editor of the Giving List, says, “Entrepreneurial confidence has fueled unprecedented levels of giving”, with business entrepreneurs and financiers still dominating the top ten.

The dramatic growth in giving over the last three years is cause for optimism despite the current financial climate, according to McCall. “The philanthropy boom will not turn to bust as quickly as the economy.”

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