Here’s who gave away the most money in 2017

Mark Zuckerberg Awarded With Axel Springer Award In Berlin
Getty Images | Adam Berry

America’s 50 most generous charitable donors gave away a combined $14.7 billion last year, up from $5.6 billion in 2016, according to the Philanthropy 50, an annual report compiled by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

According to the publication, this year’s biggest donors were relatively young philanthropists, which bodes well for future giving. Many of the donors on the list also amassed their fortune from the technology industry.

“They are the John D. Rockefellers of this generation,” Brad Smith, president of the Foundation Center, told the publication. “And they’re not done yet.”

Listed below are the top 10 donors of 2017, and how much money they gave away.

10. Diana and Roy Vagelos: $250 Million

Dr. P. Roy Vagelos and his wife Diana donated $250 million to Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons last year. Of that massive gift, $150 million will be for a fund to help Columbia eliminate student loans for medical students who quality for financial aid.

Getty Images | Bryan Bedder

9. Pam And Pierre Omidyar: $257.5 Million

Pierre Omidyar created eBay in 1995. The massive wealth he earned from it inspired he and his wife, Pam, to found The Omidyar Group, described as “a diverse collection of companies, organizations and initiatives, each guided by its own approach, but all united by a common desire to catalyze social impact.”

Flickr | pmo

8. John And Laura Arnold: $285 Million

Laura Arnold is an attorney and former oil company executive, while her husband John is an investor. They founded the Laura and John Arnold Foundation in 2008. The foundation contributes to a number of initiatives, including criminal justice, health care and education.

Arnold Foundation

7. Charles Butt: $290 Million

Texas billionaire Charles Butt leads the H-E-B grocery empire and has given to a number of causes, including public schools and NFL player J.J. Watt’s foundation to aid disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.


6. Florence Irving: $680 Million

Florence Irving and her late husband, Herbert, co-founded foodservice distributor Sysco Corp. They donated much of their fortune to Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

5. Michael Bloomberg: $702 Million

Entrepreneur and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is among the richest people in the world, and has donated billions to gun control and fighting climate change, among other causes.

Getty Images | Michael Kovac

4. Henry Hillman: $850 Million

Billionaire financier Henry Hillman passed away in 2017, at the age of 98, leaving his vast fortune to 14 philanthropies maintained by the Hillman family, with the majority going to support initiatives in southwestern Pennsylvania.

3. Michael And Susan Dell: $1 Billion

Michael Dell is the founder and CEO of Dell Technologies. He and his wife, Susan, committed $1 billion to their philanthropic entity, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, to support causes including social entrepreneurship in India, college success for low-income students in the U.S. and South Africa, as well as data-driven education.

Getty Images | Scott Olson

2. Priscilla Chan And Mark Zuckerberg: $2 Billion

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his pediatrician wife Priscilla Chan have pledged to give away 99 percent of their Facebook stock shares via the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which will focus on three main areas: improving education, advancing science and fighting for justice and opportunity.

Getty Images | Adam Berry

1. Bill And Melinda Gates: $4.8 Billion

Bill and Melinda Gates gave $4.8 billion to their namesake foundation in 2017, with $3 billion going to fight polio. In 2018, they have pledged to pay off $76 million of Nigeria’s debt over the course of 20 years.

Getty Images | Jamie McCarthy

It’s good to know some of the world’s richest people are choosing to spread their wealth in meaningful ways!

About the Author

Kate Streit

Kate Streit lives in Chicago. She enjoys stand-up comedy, mystery novels, memoirs, summer and pumpkin spice anything. More.

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