Wealthy donors give big in 2013

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.

Top individual gifts of 2013

  1. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder — $992.2 million to Silicon Valley Community Foundation
  2. Phil Knight, Nike chairman — $500 million to Oregon Health & Science University Foundation
  3. Michael Bloomberg — $350 million to The Johns Hopkins University
  4. Charles Johnson, fiancier — $250 million to Yale University
  5. Stephen Ross, real estate investor — 200 million to University of Michigan
  6. Muriel Block, real-estate heiress — $160 million to Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
  7. John Arrillaga, real-estate developer — $151 million to Stanford University
  8. Irwin Jacobs, Qualcomm co-founder — $133 million to Cornell NYC Tech
  9. Charles Munger, vice chair of Berkshire Hathaway — $110 million to University of Michigan
  10. David Koch, businessman — $100 million to New York-Presbyterian Hospital
  11. Frank McCourt, real-estate developer — $100 million to Georgetown University
  12. Ronald Perelman, investor — $100 million to Columbia Business School,
  13. T. Denny Sanford, chair United National — $100 million to University of California at San Diego
  14. Stephen Schwarzman, financier — $100 million to Tsinghua University
  15. Deborah Joy Simon, real-estate heiress — $100 million to Mercersburg Academy

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