Few causes motivate giving by wealthy individuals more than saving lives, improving health, and achieving medical breakthroughs. Major gifts are crucial to hospitals and medical centers, paying for new buildings and equipment, patient care, laboratory research, and much more. Yet it isn't always easy to understand who, exactly, makes these gifts, and why. Large donors gravitate to health and medical issues for many reasons. A study by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy demonstrated that the more fundraisers a health institution employs, the more money it will raise. No two donors are exactly alike, and there is a unique backstory to how each big donation was cultivated.  

Inside Philanthropy is working to develop a rigorous understanding of individual giving for health and medicine. We're looking at who's giving, who's getting, what the money is for, how the gifts happen, and how commitments are structured. We have analyzed hundreds of major gifts to hospitals, medical centers, research programs, and health policy organizations, and we scrutinize new gifts nearly every day. This guide shares what we are learning, broken into five distinct areas. The information contained in this guide is constantly updated and expanded, so check back often. We hope that members of the IP community will help improve and expand our work by sharing their own stories and insights. 


Individual donations toward brain and neurological research funding has been gaining some significant steam over the past few years. Discover what areas of study are  funding favorites. 


Donations toward the research, study and treatment of diseases comprise one of the top three categories of individual health funding. Find out what disease-related causes donors or focused on.


The amount of money individual donors give to hospitals and health centers is, at times, mind boggling. Find out what types of projects these multi-million-dollar donors like to fund. 


This giving space is one of the most diverse among health-related funders and can seem like a bit of a maze. With billions of dollars out there and the willingness to fund out-of-the-ordinary research, this is one maze worth navigating.


Even with the launch of multiple public campaigns aimed at raising mental health awareness, individual gifts toward mental illness still lag significantly behind other areas of health-related giving. But major gifts can still be found.