Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos's $10 billion commitment to launch the Bezos Earth Fund tops the Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual list of the largest individual gifts made by U.S. philanthropists or their foundations in 2020.
Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife, Penny, claimed the second spot with a $900.7 million commitment to the Knight Foundation, their family foundation. With a $300 million gift to the University of Oregon, the Knights shared the third spot on the list with HBE Corporation founder Fred Kummer and his wife, June, who announced a $300 million gift to the Missouri University of Science and Technology in October. In the fourth spot were Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, whose $250 million commitment to the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) will support efforts to advance voter protections, while a $200 million commitment from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta in support of a new pediatric hospital secured the fifth spot for the foundation established by the Home Depot co-founder and Atlanta Falcons owner.
The sixth spot on the list was shared by four $100 million gifts — from Bezos to Feeding America, from the Chan Zuckerberg Donor Advised Fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to the Center for Tech and Civic Life, from Stephen M. Ross to the University of Michigan in support of the Detroit Center for Innovation, and from Silver Lake Partners co-founder David Roux and his wife, Barbara, to Northeastern University. Rounding out the list were gifts of $99.6 million from real estate investors George and Renee Karfunkel to Congregation Chemdas Yisroel; $80 million from the Marcus Foundation to the Shepherd Center, a neurorehabilitation hospital in Atlanta; $65 million from Charles and Helen Schwab to Tipping Point Community in support of that organization's efforts to address homelessness in the Bay Area; and $63.5 million from Stephen M. Ross to the World Resources Institute.
Not on the list despite the large-scale giving they did in 2020 are MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Jeff Bezos, and Twitter and Square co-founder Jack Dorsey. In July, Scott announced awards totaling $1.67 billion in support of equity, climate change, democracy, global development, and public health initiatives, and in December followed that up with gifts totaling more than $4.15 billion in support of COVID-19 relief efforts and to help advance racial justice and equity. Dorsey, who earlier in the year made a splash by pledging $1 billion to charity, with an initial focus on global COVID-19 relief efforts, has awarded more than $330 million of the total to date through his fund at #startsmall LLC. The Chronicle also notes that 2020 was unusual in that, in addition to universities and medical centers, the recipients of the ten largest gifts included an environmental organization, a nonprofit dedicated to modernizing elections in the U.S., and several human services nonprofits.