WASHINGTON – The big gifts and philanthropy rose last year, especially among the wealthiest individual donors.
The year’s largest charitable donations are monitored by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
A donation to a D.C.-based university landed in the top 10. Realtor and former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt gave a large sum to his alma mater, Georgetown University.
“McCourt gave money to help Georgetown establish a school of public policy, so that’s a $100 million gift,” editor Stacy Palmer says.
“It’s a very big gift for Georgetown. I think it broke its record in terms of the biggest gift ever made.”
At the top of the list of individual gifts, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg donated nearly $1 billion to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
“There’s a really wide range of causes that people give to and what inspires them is a mix of their own experiences plus the economy,” Palmer says.
Colleges and universities were the main beneficiaries of the biggest gifts of the year. Twelve of the 15 donations on the list went to higher education institutions.
Among them, Philip Knight, a co-founder of Nike, pledged $500 million to Oregon Health and Science University Foundation for cancer research. He said the university must match the donation within the next two years to receive all of the money.
The publication’s annual ranking is based on the 10 biggest publicly announced single gifts. Often more than 10 gifts appear on the list because of ties.