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Philanthropy 50: America’s 10 most generous benefactors

Wealthy Americans are giving more to charity as the economy improves, research shows. Here’s a list of the top 10 donors

Margaret A Cargill

2011 donations: bn
Beneficiaries: Anne Ray Charitable Trust and Margaret A Cargill Foundation

An agribusiness heiress, Cargill died in 2006, but topped the Chronicle’s list as her foundations liquidated her assets only last year. The childless granddaughter of William Wallace Cargill left her shares in the privately-held Cargill Corporation to be split between the two foundations. Forbes estimated Cargill’s net worth to be about .8 billion in 2006.

William S Dietrich II

2011 donations: 0m
Beneficiary: Dietrich Foundation

The chairman of Pittsburgh steel company Diet­rich Industries is known for making some of the largest education grants in history. Carnegie Mellon University got 7.5m and the University of Pittsburgh 5m of his donation to the Dietrich Foundation. Princeton University, where Dietrich earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 1960, will receive m, reports the Chronicle. Dietrich died of cancer in October of last year.

Paul G Allen

2011 donations: 2.6m
Beneficiaries: Paul G Allen Family Foundation, Allen Institute for Brain Science

The Microsoft co-founder, and reportedly Bill Gates’s best friend, gave 5m last year to his eponymous family foundation– which supports arts and culture, education, and social-service programmes – and another m to the Allen Institute to support its research on understanding how the human brain works. Allen, who also founded the Seattle-based Vulcan investment company, last year released Idea Man, a book that talks about Microsoft’s origins, and his relationship with Gates. Forbes estimated Allen’s net worth to be .2bn as of last year.

George Soros

2011 donations: 5m
Beneficiary: Open Society Foundations

The 81-year-old chairman of New York hedge fund management firm Soros Fund Management George Soros is also the founder of Open Society Foundations, which in 2011 awarded 2m to non-profits. Soros has been involved in philanthropy for over 30 years: in 1979 he first began funding scholarships for black students at the University of Cape Town and dissidents in eastern Europe. Last year, he was ranked No1 on the Chronicle’s list, with donations of 2m. Forbes estimates his net worth to be around bn as of last year.

Michael Bloomberg

2011 donations: 1.3m
Beneficiaries: Various

New York’s mayor and the founder of the Bloomberg financial data and news service firm, Michael Bloomberg donated to over 0m to 1,185 non-profits that support the arts, human services, public affairs, and other causes. Most recently, he made headlines for siding with Planned Parenthood, after the Susan G Komen Foundation announced it would stop funding Planned Parenthood. The mayor announced that he would donate for every new dollar Planned Parenthood raised up to 0,000. Bloomberg ranked second on last year’s list, with donations of about 9m. Forbes estimated his net worth to be .5bn as of last year.

Raymond G and Ruth C Perelman

2011 donations: 7.3m
Beneficiary: University of Pennsylvania

The chairman of RGP Holdings, which owns businesses in finance, manufacturing, and mining, Ray Perelman graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1940. His wife died last year, but prior to her death, the couple pledged to donate 5m to endow the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine, reports the Chronicle. Perelman serves on the medical school’s Board of Trustees and and reportedly developed a deeper interest in healthcare issues after giving the school m in 2005. Other beneficiaries include the Philadelphia based National Museum of American Jewish History, to which the Perelmans pledged about .3m towards the construction costs of its new building, and the Miami based Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, to which they pledged 0,000.

David and Dana Dornsife

2011 donations: 0m
Beneficiary: University of Southern California

The Dornsifes pledged 0m to the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, to support the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, since renamed for the couple. The chairman of the Herrick Corporation, a California steel-manufacturing company in Stockton, David Dornsife is also on the board of trustees of the University of Southern California, from which he graduated in 1965 with a bachelor’s in business.

Robert E and Dorothy J King

2011 donations: 6.5m
Beneficiary: Stanford University

The founder of Menlo Park-based investment firm Peninsula Capital, Robert King along with his wife, Dorothy, donated 4.5m to Stanford University to establish the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies at the university’s graduate school of business. The institute will facilitate research into entrepreneurship practices, with the aim of encouraging the application of these findings to help alleviate poverty in developing countries. David King earned a master’s degree from the business school in 1960. The couple also gave m to a variety of other nonprofits, including Dartmouth College, and Dorothy King’s alma mater, the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Arthur G and Margaret B Glasgow

2011 donations: 5m
Beneficiaries: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University

Although the Glasgows died in the 1950s, their estates were only settled last year after the death of the couple’s last living heir – their son-in-law, Ambrose Congreve, who died in London in May at the age of 104. The Glasgows left m to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, of which m will endow art acquisitions, and the remaining m will help pay for the museum’s recent expansion, reports the Chronicle. They also left m to Virginia Commonwealth University to support “the cure and prevention of cancer and other degenerative diseases,” as well as m to 13 other non-profits, 10 of which are in Richmond.

John and Julie Mork

2011 donations: 0m
Beneficiary: University of Southern California

The president and chief executive officer of Denver-based oil and natural gas company, Energy Corporation of America (ECA), John Mork, along with his wife Julie, pledged 0m to the University of Southern California to support the institutions merit scholarships. John Mork graduated from the university with a BSc in petroleum engineering in 1970; it is also his childrens’ alma mater.

Other notables:

Sergey Brin and Anne E Wojcicki

2011 donations: .9m
Beneficiary: Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

Google’s co-founder, Sergey Brin, and his wife, Anne, made their first appearance on the Chronicle’s list this year. Originally from Moscow, Brin came to the US at the age of six, and later went onto to study at Stanford University, where he met Larry Page. Half of the couple’s pledge to the Michael J Fox Foundation will be used for research into LRRK2, a gene that in mutated form predisposes its carriers to Parkinson’s. Brin and his mother both possess a mutated version of this gene. He is worth close to bn as of last year, says Forbes.

Lawrence J Ellison

2011 donations: .2m
Beneficiary: Ellison Medical Foundation

The founder of Oracle, Larry Ellison, established his eponymous medical foundation in 1997 to fund research of ageing and other scientific fields that are underfunded. He has appeared on the Chronicle’s list of the most generous Americans since its inception in 2000. As of last year, he had a net worth of bn, according to Forbes.

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