Buffett, Gates, and Bloomberg Give Largest Share of Wealth to Charity - The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Michael Bloomberg are the three most generous donors among the 10 richest people in America, according to new analysis by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Out of those three multibillionaires, the master investor, Mr. Buffett, comes out on top as the most generous, having given 71 percent of his wealth to charity since 2000.

Mr. Buffett is followed by his good friend Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and the wealthiest person on the Forbes list, with a fortune pegged at $81 billion. Mr. Gates and his wife, Melinda, have given 22 percent of their wealth to charity in the past 17 years.

The three have a close association. Mr. Buffett pledged more than $36 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2006, and the three friends joined forces a number of years ago to establish the Giving Pledge, an effort to encourage the world’s richest people to contribute most of their wealth to charity.

Meanwhile, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg comes in third for giving more than 10 percent of his fortune to charity since 2000. Like a lot of these ultrawealthy donors, however, Mr. Bloomberg has been making large charitable gifts for many more decades than The Chronicles tally measures. Others only recently started contributing large sums to nonprofits and may have many more years of giving ahead of them.

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is one of those. He and his wife, Priscilla Chan, started donating to charity publicly only in recent years but have said their future plans include giving away 99 percent of their Facebook shares to help make the world a better place.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is another example. While he is the second wealthiest person on the Forbes list, he has given only a tiny fraction of his $67 billion fortune to charity so far. He indicated earlier this year that he plans to ramp up his giving in the years to come.

The Chronicle used the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans in 2016 and analyzed data going back to 2000 from the Internal Revenue Service 990-PF forms as well as information from our annual Philanthropy 50 report and additional figures provided by the philanthropists themselves.

Want to know more about who among America’s richest are giving what percentage of their wealth to nonprofits? Read on.

1. Warren Buffett

Founded the company that became Berkshire Hathaway; age 87

Share of wealth directed to charity: 71.1 percent

Net worth: $65.5 billion

Total amount given personally since 2000: $46.6 billion

Main causes: Efforts carried out by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, his late wife’s grant maker, and his children’s philanthropies.

He does not have a foundation of his own.

2. Bill Gates

Microsoft co-founder; age 61

Share of wealth directed to charity: 22.2 percent

Net worth: $81 billion

Total amount given personally since 2000: $18 billion

Main causes: Global health, development, policy and advocacy, and U.S. education programs

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has assets of $40.3 billion and has given away $41 billion since 2000.

3. Michael Bloomberg

Bloomberg LP founder; age 75

Percentage of wealth directed to charity: 10.2 percent

Net worth: $45 billion

Total amount given personally since 2000: $4.6 billion

Main causes: Arts, education, environment, public-health groups, and programs aimed at improving city governments

Bloomberg Philanthropies is a giving vehicle that encompasses his Bloomberg Family Foundation, his company’s corporate giving, and other entities. Among those, his $7.2 billion family foundation awarded more than $1.1 billion from 2007 to 2015.

4. Sergey Brin

Google co-founder; age 44

Percentage of wealth directed to charity: 5.9 percent

Net worth: $37.5 billion

Total amount given personally since 2000: $2.2 billion

Main causes: Parkinson’s research and underserved populations

The Brin Wojcicki Foundation has assets of $854.9 million and awarded $143.4 million from 2005 to 2015. His Sergey Brin Family Foundation has assets of $719.8 million and awarded $2.4 million from 2014 to 2015.

5. Larry Page

Google co-founder; age 44

Share of wealth directed to charity: 4 percent

Net worth: $38.5 billion

Total amount given personally since 2000: $1.5 billion

Main causes: Education and health care

He created the Carl Victor Page Memorial Foundation to honor his late father. It has $1.5 billion in assets and awarded $275.8 million from 2005 to 2015.

6. David Koch

Koch Industries co-owner; age 77

Share of wealth directed to charity: 3 percent

Net worth: $42 billion

Total amount given personally since 2000: $1.2 billion

Main causes: Arts and culture, education, and cancer research and treatment

He primarily uses his David H. Koch Charitable Foundation to pay off a $100 million pledge he made in 2008 to renovate the Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York.

7. Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook co-founder; age 33

Share of wealth directed to charity: 2.9 percent

Net worth: $55.5 billion

Total amount given personally since 2000: $1.6 billion

Main causes: Education, criminal-justice overhaul, housing, immigration, and science

He has a donor-advised fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and with his wife, Priscilla Chan, established the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a $45 billion LLC through which the couple donates to nonprofits, participates in public advocacy, and invests.

8. Larry Ellison

Oracle founder; age 73

Share of wealth directed to charity: 2.4 percent

Net worth: $49.3 billion

Total amount given personally since 2000: $1.2 billion

Main causes: Education, environment, medical research

The Lawrence Ellison Foundation has assets of $11.2 million and has given away $517.1 million from 2000 to 2015.

9. Charles Koch

Koch Industries co-owner; age 81

Share of wealth directed to charity: 1.5 percent

Net worth: $42 billion

Total amount given personally since 2000: $627 million

Main causes: Efforts to improve policing, economic research, and other causes

The Charles Koch Foundation has $620 million in assets and has awarded $187 million since 2000.

10. Jeff Bezos

Amazon founder; age 53

Percentage of wealth directed to charity: 0.1 percent

Net worth: $67 billion

Total amount given personally since 2000: $68 million

Main causes: Higher education, cultural groups, public affairs

The Bezos Family Foundation, which Mr. Bezos, his parents, and other relatives support, has assets of more than $54.1 million and has given away $97.2 million since 2000.

Source: Philanthropy

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