Buffett Tops Forbes Ranking of Biggest Givers in 2018

Buffett Tops Forbes Ranking of Biggest Givers in 2018

For the fifth consecutive year, Berkshire Hathaway chair Warren Buffett tops the Forbes list of U.S. philanthropists who gave the most to charity in the previous calendar year.

In partnership with SHOOK Research, Forbes examined contributions paid out by living philanthropists and their foundations in 2018 and found that Buffett donated shares of Berkshire Hathaway valued at $3.4 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four family charities — the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and the NoVo Foundation. The bulk of the shares were awarded to the Gates Foundation.

As in 2017, Gates Foundation co-founders Bill and Melinda Gates ($2.6 billion), Bloomberg Philanthropies founder Michael R. Bloomberg ($767 million), the Walton family (whose family foundation disbursed a total of $596 million), Open Society Foundations founder George Soros ($585 million), and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan ($410 million) ranked second through sixth. Wyss Foundation founder Hansjörg Wyss ($402 million) moved up to seventh place from ninth in 2017, while Simons Foundation co-founders Jim and Marilyn Simons ($397 million) held steady in eighth place, eBay and Omidyar Group founder Pierre Omidyar ($392 million) made it into the top ten at ninth place, and Gordon and Betty Moore (whose foundation disbursed a total of $298 million in 2018) dropped to tenth place from seventh in 2017.

According to Forbes, America's fifty biggest givers in 2018 contributed a total of $14.1 billion, up from $12.6 billion in 2017 and $12.2 billion in 2016. Collectively, their lifetime giving — a tally of funds distributed by their foundations as well as direct gifts — exceeds $173 billion. Thirty-nine of the fifty are also on the 2019 Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans, as are nine of the top ten givers.

Jennifer Wang. "America's Top 50 Givers." Forbes 11/20/2019.