10 Wealthy Entrepreneurs Who Give the Most to Charity
These successful business owners shared their fortunes for the greater good.
As debate heats up on Capitol Hill about whether to tax our top earners at a significantly higher rate, one detail seems missing from the conversation: How successful business owners often use their fortunes for the greater good.
While not every not every jet-setting, millionaire or billionaire entrepreneur feels the philanthropic impulse, many do, as reported today by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The publication released its annual Philanthropy 50 list, which highlights the people who gave the most to charity. Last year, the individuals on their list contributed nearly $8 billion to charities.
Yes, that’s billion, with a B.
We combed through the list to find which business owners ponied up the most. Here’s a look at the top 10, in reverse order.
10. Craig Newmark
2018 total donated: $143.8 million
Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, also created the Craig Newmark Foundation and Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund. His various grants and monetary donations in large part benefit advancements in the field of journalism.
9. Jay Alix
2018 total donated: $200 million
Founder of AlixPartners, a New York City-based investment group, “turnaround expert” Jay Alix’s biggest charitable investment last year was to the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine for endowment which backs scholarships and a professorship.
8. John and Laura Arnold
2018 total donated: $204.3 million
John Arnold is a billionaire and former hedge fund manager who co-founded Centaurus Advisors in the early 2000s. He and his wife Laura gave the most last year ($129.2 million) to the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. That money was earmarked to support efforts including pretrial criminal-justice overhaul and lowering the cost of prescription drugs.
7. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan
2018 total donated: $213,598,215
Despite facing significant controversy at his company last year, the Facebook founder and his wife funneled a significant amount of money into the Chan Zuckerberg Donor Advised Fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The money is expected to support efforts associated with education, health care, and other causes, The Chronicle of Philanthropy says.
6. Paul Allen
2018 total donated: $261,432,500
Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, died last October. Following many years of philanthropic giving, his financial donations last year spanned many causes, among them the Allen Institute for Immunology, a new organization focused on learning more about how the human immune system works.
5. Steve and Connie Ballmer
2018 total donated: $295 million
Owner of the L.A. Clippers and former CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer and his wife helped support economic mobility programs and other causes—all via the Ballmer Group Donor Advised Fund at Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund.
4. Stephen Schwarzman
2018 total donated: $390 million
Stephen Schwarzman is co-founder of the Blackstone Group. Last year, his biggest monetary gift went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “ensuring new technologies are harnessed for the betterment of society and the economy,” The Chronicle of Philanthropy says.
3. Pierre and Pam Omidyar
2018 total donated: $392 million
Pierre Omidyar (founder of eBay) and his wife Pam donated to various non-profits they are associated with, including the Omidyar Network, Democracy Fund, First Look Media, Luminate, HopeLab, and Humanity United.
2. Michael Bloomberg
2018 total donated: $767 million
Whether he runs for president in 2020 remains to be seen. What is known is that this entrepreneur and former New York City mayor donated a ton of money last year to numerous programs focused on issues related to the arts, education, the environment, public-health, and improving city governments.
1. Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos
2018 total donated: $2 billion
Before making headlines this year for their forthcoming divorce and a feud with the owner of the National Enquirer, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Bezos offered up this whopping sum to create the Day One Fund last year, an organization that’s charged with helping financially struggling families.