15 Biggest Charitable Gifts of 2013

The Chronicle of Philanthropy data show return of big gifts following recession

Fifteen wealthy American philanthropists made charitable gifts of $100 million or more in 2013 for a total of $3.4 billion, according to a new survey by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Last year, 11 donors made comparable gifts, totaling $5 billion. However, $3 billion of the 2012 total comprised equal gifts from Warren Buffett to his three children’s foundations. Subtract that, and the other biggest gifts added up to $2 billion.

The Chronicle bases its annual ranking on the 10 largest publicly announced single gifts; often more than 10 gifts appear on the list because of ties.

The increase in mega-gifts in 2013 was good news for charitable organizations, but nonprofits could also be buoyed by Chronicle data showing that all gifts of $1 million or more totaled nearly $9.6 billion, compared with $6.1 billion in 2012.

The Chronicle noted that although gains in the economy helped boost giving, ultra-affluent American donors did not contribute as much in 2013 as they had before the recession.

In 2007, the biggest gifts from individuals totaled $4.1 billion, and all of the amounts on that year’s list were at least $100 million.

Following is the list of the 15 biggest gifts announced by individual donors in 2013 (including six contributions of the same size):

David Koch. (Photo: AP)

15. (tie) David Koch, businessman

$100 million (pledge)

New York-Presbyterian Hospital, for a new ambulatory-care center 

15. (tie) Frank McCourt, real estate developer

$100 million (pledge)

Georgetown University, to create the McCourt School of Public Policy

Ronald Perelman (Photo: AP)

15. (tie) Ronald Perelman, investor

$100 million (pledge)

Columbia Business School, for a new building 

15. (tie) T. Denny Sanford, chairman of United National Corp.

$100 million (pledge)

University of California at San Diego, for a stem-cell center

Stephen Schwarzman (Photo: AP) 

15. (tie) Stephen Schwarzman, financer

$100 million (pledge)

Tsinghua University, for scholarships for graduate students around the world 

15. (tie) Deborah Joy Simon, real estate heiress

$100 million (pledge)

Mercersburg Academy, for financial aid and academic programs

Charles Munger

9. Charles Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway

$110 million (pledge)

University of Michigan, for student housing 

8. Irwin Jacobs, co-founder of Qualcomm, and his wife, Joan

$133 million (pledge)

The Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute at Cornell NYC Tech

John Arrillaga

7. John Arrillaga, real estate developer

$151 million

Stanford University 

6. Muriel Block, real estate heiress

$160 million (bequest)

Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University

Stephen Ross (Photo: AP)

5. Stephen Ross, real estate developer

$200 million (pledge)

University of Michigan, for athletics and the business school 

4. Charles Johnson, financer

$250 million (pledge)

Yale University, for new residential college buildings


Michael Bloomberg

3. Michael Bloomberg, businessman and former mayor of New York

$350 million (pledge)

The Johns Hopkins University, for an effort to promote cross-disciplinary work and for student financial aid 

2. Phil Knight, Nike's chairman, and his wife, Penelope

$500 million (pledge)

Oregon Health & Science University Foundation, for cancer research

Mark Zuckerberg, and his wife, Priscilla Chan (Photo: AP) 

1. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder, and his wife, Priscilla Chan

$992.2 million

Silicon Valley Community Foundation


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