October 5, 2011; Source: Forbes | The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University maintains a free searchable data base on gifts of more than $1 million made since 2000 and it is great reading for those obsessed with such stuff. It can be sorted by giver and recipient. Warren Buffett tops the list of 6,780 gifts from individuals as might have been expected but this Forbes article reports a few other interesting factoids:

“Individual donors contribute only 11% of the gifts on the Million Dollar List but these make up nearly 40% of the total dollars. The mean gift size from individuals is $5.88 million for all gifts of less than $50 million.

There is a clustering of gifts at exact dollar amounts: 1,884 of the gifts from individuals were for $1 million even, 524 at $2 million, 550 at $5 million, and 393 at $10 million.

Where are the rich sending their dollars? Although religious organizations receive an estimated 35% of all charitable dollars, only 1% of gifts reported on the Million Dollar List are directed toward religious organizations. Higher education institutions received significantly more gifts from individuals than all other subsectors combined. However, despite receiving 67% of the number of gifts, only 24% of the total dollars went to higher education.”

Seventy percent of the million dollar gifts came from individuals who made just one contribution at this level. Adriene Davis, the manager of public affairs for the center may be reaching a bit though when she says.  “It shows the populist nature of giving at this level.”

Anyway – enjoy! It’s a cool service from a fine institution.—Ruth McCambridge