Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Top 10 Philanthropists of Our Time

Philanthropy is donating money, goods or services for an extended period of time and is usually intended to promote good in the world. The people listed below are very wealthy individuals. Being wealthy is not a requirement to partake in philanthropy, it is giving something to promote well-being. The people ranked below are ranked accordingly to the amount given or pledged.
  1. Warren Buffett (Bio), Berkshine Hathaway
    • A monumental gift announced in June, Buffett's $31-billion commitment to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will fund efforts to improve global health and U.S. education. Buffett, the world's second-richest man, also earmarked billions for the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and the NoVo Foundation--independent family foundations that support causes ranging from reproductive health to worldwide conservation.

  2. Bill and Melinda Gates, Microsoft
    • With $31 billion in assets, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the world's largest charity. And its endowment is expected to double, thanks to a long-term gift from investor Warren Buffett, who installed the first $1.6-billion contribution over the summer. The Gateses' mission is to alleviate global poverty and find a cure for AIDS and other fatal diseases, provide access to information technology in libraries, and turn around America's schools. They will begin construction on a new headquarters for their foundation in downtown Seattle early next year.

  3. George Soros, Investor
    • Investor George Soros distributes $400 million or more each year through his charitable network. In 2005, he shelled out an extra $200 million for his Central European University, a graduate school he helped found in Budapest in 1991. An immigrant from Hungary who made his first billion dollars in England, Soros has a passion for politicking, giving millions each year to promote open and democratic societies.

  4. Gordon and Betty Moore, Intel
    • With charitable gifts totaling well above $7 billion, the Moores are serious conservationalists. In 2001, the couple gave $5 billion to their San Francisco-based foundation, headquartered in an eco-friendly "Green Building," for worldwide environmental research. The Moores also fund scientific and nursing initiatives in the Bay Area, working closely with the California Institute of Technology and local hospitals.

  5. Herbert and Marion Sandler, Golden West
    • The Sandlers have given generously to cure asthma and deadly African diseases such as malaria. The press-shy couple from California also support education, social reform and progressive government, and Jewish causes. Last year they doled out $1 million for stem cell research.

  6. Eli and Edythe Broad, SunAmerica KB
    • The Broads, who own some 800 pieces of contemporary art, are building a new 60,000-square-foot gallery at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This year they gave $25 million to the University of Southern California for stem cell research and have given generously to other schools in the past. The Broad Foundations (yes, there are three of them) not only tackle education, science, and the arts, but they also help fund civic initiatives like the Grand Avenue Project in downtown Los Angeles and the nearby Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall.

  7. Walton Family, Wal-Mart
    • The world's richest family is also one of the most united when it comes to philanthropy. The Waltons commit the bulk of their gifts through the Walton Family Foundation, which has given more than $1 billion to a variety of charitable causes over the past 20 years. Their areas of focus: K-12 education reform, quality of life initiatives in Northwest Arkansas (home to Wal-Mart), economic development initiatives in the Mississippi Delta region of the U.S., and most recently, marine and fresh-water fishing sustainability initiatives.

  8. Donald Bren, Real Estate
    • Bren's commitment to education runs the gamut from students to principals to school districts to university scholars on his Irvine Ranch. On top of a $20-million gift to fund elementary fine arts, music, and science programs at schools in Irvine, Calif., Bren quietly gave away properties worth hundreds of million of dollars this year to recipients such as schools and retirement communities.

  9. Bernard Osher, Investing
    • This year Osher funneled more than $700 million into his private foundation, which supports the arts, higher education, and integrative medicine in the San Francisco Bay area and his native Maine. Approaching his eighties, he runs a scholarship program for people over 50.

  10. Alfred Mann, Medical devices
    • The founder of 11 biomedical companies, Mann plans to parlay his wealth into at least as many top biomedical research institutes, the first of which opened at the University of Southern California with an endowment of more than $100 million. An October agreement with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology plants the seeds for the first of these overseas.
Source: The 50 Most Generous Philanthropists

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