* Experts say results appear to indicate optimism about
* 52 percent gave to political campaigns in 2011
By Jessica Toonkel
Oct 3 Wealthy U.S. investors plan to donate more
to charity in the next three to five years or continue giving at
current levels, and about half contributed to political
campaigns last year, according to survey results released on
The findings appear to indicate that wealthy investors are
optimistic about the stock market and their financial
well-being, said Una Osili, director of research for the Center
on Philanthropy at Indiana University, which conducts the
"We have more than 50 years of data to show that charitable
giving is affected when the stock market is uncertain," she
In periods of recession, such as 2001-2002 and 2008-2009,
the number of gifts per quarter is less than half that in more
prosperous periods, according to a 2011 study by Indiana
Twenty-four percent of the 700 high-net-worth investors
surveyed said they planned to give more to charities in the next
three to five years, while 52 percent said they would give as
much as they do now, according to the study sponsored by Bank of
America Corp. Nine percent said they planned to give
less in that time.
Wealthy investors are making donations to political
campaigns as well as charities.
Fifty-two percent of respondents said they had given to
political causes in 2011 for purpose of electing or defeating a
candidate. That is much higher than the average 10 percent to 12
percent of mainstream investors who do so, Osili said.
The high percentage of wealthy investors who said they were
had contributed to political campaigns "is really significant
given that 2011 was not an election year," said Claire Costello,
philanthropic practice executive for U.S. Trust, Bank of America
Private Wealth Management.
This was the first time that Bank of America asked the
question, so could not provide historical context.
The political donations by wealthy investors are unlikely to
interfere with their charitable giving, said Ken Nopar, a
consultant to financial advisers.
"It's usually above and beyond what they give to charity,"
The nationwide survey was conducted by mail from April to
August. It is based on responses from 700 U.S. households with a
net worth of more than $1 million, excluding the value of their
home, and/or annual income of more than $200,000.
Sixty percent of the wealthy investors surveyed said
education was the among the top social issues that mattered to
them, while 45 percent said health care, 38 percent said the
economy and 34 percent said poverty.
Regardless, 36 percent of wealthy donors directed their
largest gifts in 2011 to religion, while 25 percent donated to
educational institutions and 8 percent to healthcare