It is incredible to note that every year, some of the most wealthy individuals in the world donate billions of dollars from their pockets to needy and philanthropic organizations. 2017 was no different. The Chronicle of Philanthropy is a news and information source that tracks the amount of money that donors give. Every year, they release data on the top ten largest donations made each year. In 2016, these ten gifts totaled $4.3 billion. 2017 shattered that number, coming to $10.2 billion, more than double the amount of 2016. In fact, the top three donations were of one billion dollars and more. What makes this year’s list interesting is that most of the names on the list are people that the general public are unfamiliar with. So most of the biggest philanthropists in America keep a fairly low profile. Let’s take a look at some of the largest charitable donations in 2017.
Bill and Melinda Gates
2017’s largest donor was none other than the founder of Microsoft Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda. These two donated a total of $4.6 billion in Microsoft stock to their foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which they started in 2000. The foundation focuses on philanthropic issues in health, development, and education all over the world. The foundation’s value sits at approximately $40 billion, and Gate’s own wealth is at $92 billion.
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan
Coming in second, behind the Gateses was the Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg with his wife, Priscilla Chan. They gave a total gift of $1.9 billion to the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation which is the nonprofit sector of their organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The funds of the foundation are to go towards efforts in education, housing, science, and improving the criminal-justice system. Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth stands at about $75.8 billion.
Coming in fourth place was a man much less known than the top two figures. Henry Hillman was a billionaire and Pittsburgh native who sadly passed away in April of 2017. He made his money through financial services and venture capital. He left the generous amount of $800 million to the Hillman Family Foundations which will benefit those in the Pittsburgh area.
Another relatively unknown name on this list was Florence Irving who came in fifth with her donation. She is the widow of the co-founder of Sysco which is the food products giant. Irving gave $600 million to the Columbia University Herbert and Florence Irving Medical Center and the New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center.