Legacy Direct Blog

The Top 50 American Philanthropists

Posted on: December 1, 2008

Even during the economic pinch, a very select group of Americans have continued to donate many of their hard-earned dollars to philanthropic causes, such as global health and education initiatives.  BusinessWeek did a great story on these “Top 50 American Philanthropists.”  You can view the article here:


Warren Buffett tops this year’s list, giving over $40 billion to charity in the last four years.  Bill and Melinda Gates were runner’s up, a mere $38 billion shy of what Buffett gave to his various philanthropies.

Also, here is the link to the slide show of the men and women who made the list.  You can also check out the top 25 below.


Rank Name Background 2004-08 Giving* (millions)
1 Warren Buffett Berkshire Hathaway CEO $40,655
2 Bill & Melinda Gates Microsoft co-founder 2,624
3 George Kaiser Oil and gas, banking, investments 2,377
4 George Soros Investor 2,214
5 William Barron Hilton Heir and former CEO of Hilton Hotels 1,700
6 Walton Family Family of Wal-Mart founder 1,380
7 Herbert & Marion Sandler Golden West Financial co-founders 1,329
8 Peter Peterson Blackstone Group co-founder 1,168
9 Donald Bren Real estate developer 908
10 Michael Bloomberg Bloomberg founder, NYC Mayor 903
11 Jon Huntsman Huntsman chairman 803
12 Bernard Osher Banking, investments 800
13 David Rockefeller Standard Oil heir, banking 770
14 John & Tashia Morgridge Cisco Systems chairman emeritus 715
15 T. Denny Sanford Banking and credit cards 706
16 T. Boone Pickens Energy and investing 704
17 Shelby White Widow of investor Leon Levy 614
18 Alfred Mann Medical devices, aerospace 600
19 Kirk Kerkorian Investor 598
20 Eli & Edythe Broad SunAmerica, KB Home founder 589
21 Jeffrey Skoll Founding president of eBay 551
22 Veronia Atkins Widow of Dr. Robert Atkins 529
23 Robert Wilson Investor 512
24 Pierre & Pam Omidyar eBay chairman and founder 504
25 David Koch Koch Industries executive vice pres. 440

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