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Largest Philanthropists Gave Less, Follow Their Own Drummer in 2009

It’s that time of year when we learn who gave how much and to what. The Chronicle of Philanthropy has a list of the top 50 philanthropists of 2009, and Slate Magazine profiles the top 60 philanthropists.

In a Wall Street Journal article, Robert Frank notes some trends in philanthropy after studying the lists. They include:

  • Philanthropy is down. That’s not much of a surprise given the state of the economy in 2009. But the percentage is large at 75% down. In 2008, the top 50 philanthropists gave $15.5 billion. That fell to $4.1 billion in 2009. That hurts. The median gift of these philanthropists fell to $41.4 million from $69.3 million in 2008.

  • Philanthropy is going private. Rather than write checks to their favorite causes, many large donors are setting up their own foundations dedicated to solving some big global problems. Wealthy donors increasingly want to see concrete, measurable results from their giving. They also want to create large scale change, rather than a piecemeal solutions.

The top 10 American philanthropists for 2009 are:

  1. Stanley and Fiona Drukenmiller, $705 million to the Drukenmiller Foundation.
  2. John M. Templeton (Bequest), $573 million to Templeton Foundation
  3. Bill and Melinda Gates, $350 million to the Gates Foundation
  4. Michael R. Bloomberg, $254 million to 1,358 groups.
  5. Louis Nippert, $185 million to Greenacres Foundation
  6. George Soros, $150 million ($100 million to establish Fund for Policy Reform and $50 million to Central European University)
  7. Eli and Edyth L. Broad, $105.2-million to the Broad Foundations
  8. J. Ronald and Frances Terwilliger, $102 million ($100 million to Habitat for Humanity International and $2 million to other groups)
  9. William P. Clements Jr., $100 million to Southwestern Medical Foundation
  10. Pierre and Pam Omidyar, $92 million ($50 million to Hawaii Community Foundation; $41 million to HopeLab and Humanity United; $1 million to U. of Hawaii)

Photo by Don Bishop/Getty Images

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Largest Philanthropists Gave Less, Follow Their Own Drummer in 2009 originally appeared on About.com Nonprofit Charitable Orgs on Monday, February 8th, 2010 at 21:06:00.

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