The 10 biggest donations to charity this year
The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual list of the 10 greatest philanthropic gifts published by individuals or their organizations totals nearly $9.3 billion by 2022. Donations are transferred to large, reputable organizations, three of which are private foundations and three universities, to support environmental sustainability, children’s mental health, and stem cell research. Other gifts support cancer research and treatment, housing efforts, youth and reproductive health programs.
Two of the gifts exceeded US$1 billion, and six of the eight donors (one sponsor made three gifts) were billionaires. The combined net worth of those six donors is just over $325 billion.
Topping the list is Bill Gates, who gave US$5 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the foundation’s work in the areas of global health, development, policy and advocacy books as well as American education. Gates, whose net worth is estimated at US$104 billion, gained attention in July when he announced he would give US$20 billion to the foundation he runs with his ex-wife, Melinda French Gates. However, fund officials confirmed in December that three-quarters of that $20 billion was used to pay off the $15 billion he and French Gates pledged in July 2021. The remaining US$5 billion is a new amount transferred into the fund.
Ann and John Doerr came in second with a $1.1 billion donation they gave through the Benificus Foundation to Stanford University to found the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, an effort to address the most pressing challenges on global climate and sustainability. The new school will focus on eight scholarship areas: climate change, earth and planetary science, energy technology, sustainable cities, the natural environment, food and water security, society and human behavior, human health and the environment.
The new school will feature several academic departments and interdisciplinary institutes. It will also host a “sustainability accelerator,” which, among other efforts, will award grants to researchers and others to develop new technologies for sustainability. environment and related fields, promote new policies and support partnerships.
John Doerr is a venture capital investor who made his mark and most of his fortune backing early Silicon Valley tech giants like Sun Microsystems, Amazon, and Google. Today, he is the chairman of the investment firm Kleiner Perkins, and his net worth is a little over $9 billion.
In third are Jackie and Mike Bezos, mother and stepfather of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The couple awarded the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center US$710.5 million to build 36 research laboratories and an additional large research facility. The funding will also support the cancer center’s immunotherapy research and clinical trials over the next 10 years.
The couple were fairly tight-lipped philanthropists until recently. However, Jackie Bezos has been closely involved in a number of nonprofit projects over the years. She created the Bezos Scholars Program at the Aspen Institute, The Aspen Challenge, and Rebuilding Students, all of which are educational programs for different age groups. Mike Bezos spent 32 years as an engineer and manager for oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil before retiring and turning his attention to the couple’s giving.
Gifts from the Doerr and the Bezoses were followed by one from Warren Buffett. The esteemed 92-year-old investor has given nearly $474.3 million worth of stock to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, a donor Warren Buffett founded in 1964 to manage the family philanthropy that Warren Buffett founded. later renamed for his first wife, who passed away in 2004. The Foundation supports women’s reproductive health and provides college scholarships to students in Nebraska, where the foundation is located. .
A Buffett representative confirmed the gift was a special one-time donation that Buffett decided to make in late November and not one of the annual donations he makes to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation and a among other donors, is a payment of billions of dollars in pledges he announced in 2006.
The late Ruth DeYoung Kohler II comes in at number five on the list. The Kohler Company heiress, who died in 2020 at the age of 79, left a $440 million legacy to found the Ruth Foundation for the Arts, a Milwaukee grant organization dedicated to supporting groups visual and performing arts across the country. It plans to award about $20 million a year. Kohler is an avid art advocate and ran the John Michael Kohler Center for the Arts in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, from 1972 to 2016.
Kohler II was followed by MacKenzie Scott, the novelist and Amazon co-founder, who gave US$436 million to Habitat for Humanity International. The gift is unrestricted, as is the case with most of Scott’s gifts. When Habitat for Humanity officials announced the gift in March, they said they plan to use the money to address the global housing crisis and advocate for system-wide changes to increase equitable access to affordable housing for all.
Two additional gifts from Scott — US$281 million to Boys & Girls Clubs of America and US$275 million to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America — also made the list.
The Chronicle’s annual ranking is based on the 10 largest publicly available giveaways. The tally does not include artwork contributions or gifts from anonymous donors. In February, Chronicle will publish its annual ranking of the 50 largest donors, a list based on individual contributions in 2022 rather than individual gifts.
This article was provided to The Associated Press by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Maria Di Mento is a senior reporter for the Chronicle. AP and Chronicle get support from Lilly Endowment for philanthropic and nonprofit coverage. AP and Chronicle are solely responsible for all content.