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Education Is the Darling of Wealthy Philanthropists, But K-12 Is Losing Its Luster

When high-wealth families around the globe are looking for causes to support, education is at the top of their list.

A new survey found that more than one quarter of charitable giving by these families goes to education causes, from early childhood to postsecondary.

Those investments in education far outpace the next largest area of support, health, which receives 14 percent of philanthropic dollars by these families. The third largest area, arts, culture, and sports, accounts for 10 percent of the charitable giving conducted by these families.

On the domestic front, a growing number of funders are looking outside the K-12 system to focus their giving, said Celine Coggins, the executive director of Grantmakers for Education, a consortium of philanthropists focused on supporting learners of all ages.

That means focusing on children before they start school as well as postsecondary education, rather than the K-12 space specifically, she said. And it also means examining education and its connection to other concerns.