Posted: 7:35 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, 2014
By Tabitha Hale
Americans are a charitable people. I am, happily, never without stories to write about people doing good deeds within their communities. Today, however, Iʼm looking at people who are able to give huge sums of money. The Chronicle of Philanthropy has released their list of the 50 biggest American donors of 2013, and itʼs incredible.
These Americans have given incredible amounts of money to the causes closest to their hearts. According to Business Insider, the top 50 donors “donated $7.7 billion in 2013, a 4% increase over the previous year. The median gift was $86.1 million, and 82 causes received gifts of $1 million or more.” Over $86 million as the median.
At the top of the list are Mark Zuckerberg (of Facebook fame) and his wife Priscilla Chan. They gave away nearly $1 billion (yes, with a B) of their $19 billion fortune last year, nearly double what they gave in 2012. Isnʼt it nice to see a young couple at the top of the list? The Zuckerberg-Chan family gave this gift to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation in San Mateo, California.
Fracking guru George Mitchell came in second, giving $650 million to the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation in The Woodlands, Texas. This foundation is dedicated to giving grants for “innovative, sustainable solutions for human and environmental problems.”
Phil Knight (co-founder of Nike) and his wife Penelope come in third with a donation of $500 million to the Oregon Health and Science University Foundation. This gift was to start a $1 billion cancer research initiative at the Knight Cancer Institute.
Michael Bloomberg spread his donations around various organizations. In total, Bloomberg gave $452 million to arts, education, environmental, public health, and other causes.
Rounding out the top five is another young couple, John and Laura Arnold. This Texas couple gave $296.2 million to the Laura and John Arnold Foundation in Houston, Texas and the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund in Boston. Their foundation aims “to foster a culture in which individuals have the best chance to succeed and prosper, while encouraging a sense of responsibility, compassion and reinvestment toward their communities and society as a whole.” The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund exists to “make charitable giving simple and effective.”
Also in the top ten were Charles Johnson (of Franklin Templeton Investments), Pam and Pierre Omidyar (of eBay), Joan and Irwin Jacobs (or Qualcomm), Anne Wojcicki and Sergey Brin (of Google), and Jeffrey Carlton (Press Forge).
Most of us canʼt afford to give even a 10th of what those on this list have given, but doesnʼt it inspire you to do what you can?