The ten largest charitable gifts from individuals in 2001 totaled $4.6 billion, down nearly 60 percent from the $11.07 billion recorded a year earlier, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Of the top ten gifts, five were made to universities and one to a medical research institute, SiliconValley.com reports.
Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, who led the list of individual donors in 2000, remained in the top slot in 2001, thanks to a $2 billion gift to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Jim Stowers, founder of American Century Services Corp., a mutual-fund company, and his wife Virginia gave the second-biggest gift — $1.11 billion — to endow the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, Missouri. Gordon Moore, co-founder and chairman emeritus of Intel Corp., and his wife Betty ranked third with a pledge of $300 million to the California Institute of Technology to expand research efforts and enhance the school's programs in science and technology. The Moores shared the first-place spot with the Gateses in 2000 after they announced a $5 billion gift to establish the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which this year announced it would contribute $300 million to Caltech in addition to the couple's personal gift to the school.
Other gifts making the top ten list in 2001 included a $250 million pledge from Bill Coleman, founder of BEA Systems, an applications infrastructure software company, and his wife Claudia to create a research institute at the University of Colorado; a $250 million pledge from CNN founder Ted Turner to establish the Nuclear Threat Initiative; and a $230 million gift from an anonymous donor to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy noted that the lower total was in all likelihood due to the decline in stock values over the past year. "The amounts are definitely smaller," said Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle. "It's the economy. Some of the big givers in the past were technology donors. The slippage in technology stocks affects that. There weren't other pockets of wealth out there that were all of a sudden feeling philanthropic."