Five Donors Gave at Least $1 Billion in 2019, Survey Finds

Five Donors Gave at Least $1 Billion in 2019, Survey Finds

Five individuals or couples donated at least $1 billion to philanthropic causes in 2019, with Michael R. Bloomberg topping the list, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports.

According to the magazine's twentieth annual Philanthropy 50 survey, the top five donors — Bloomberg ($3.3 billion); the late Barron Hilton ($2.4 billion in funds bequeathed to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation after his death in September); former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy ($1.3 billion); Walmart heir Jim Walton ($1.2 billion); and the late Thomas Lord (more than $1 billion to three universities and the Cleveland Clinic) — gave a total of $9.3 billion in 2019, a figure that topped the giving of all fifty people on the list in 2018. Bloomberg's 2019 giving included a total of $1.8 billion to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University — the largest-ever gift to an academic institution in the United States — fulfilling a commitment he made in 2018 that will enable Hopkins to permanently commit to a need-blind admissions policy.

According to the Chronicle, the top fifty donors on this year's list gave 4.42 percent of their wealth to philanthropic causes, on average — a significant increase over the 2.59 percent average of the past five years — while only 21 percent of the individuals on the list are ranked among the nation’s four hundred wealthiest individuals.

Maria Di Mento, Jim Rendon. "In a Year of Record-Breaking Giving, Bloomberg Tops Philanthropy 50 Rankings." Chronicle of Philanthropy 02/11/2020. Maria Di Mento. "Philanthropy 50." Chronicle of Philanthropy 02/11/2020.