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Bill Gates tops the list of the 2022’s biggest charitable donations

Bill Gates, the American billionaire, and a Philanthropist tops the list of 2022’s biggest charitable donations.

In 2022, the top 10 philanthropic donations announced by persons or their foundations on The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual list totaled approximately $9.3 billion.

The donations supported stem cell research, children’s mental health, and environmental sustainability at three universities, three large, well-known organizations, and three private foundations.

The other donations supported housing initiatives, youth programs, reproductive health, and cancer research and treatment.

Six of the eight contributors (one donor made three gifts) and two of the gifts totaling over $1 billion are all multibillionaires. These six donors have a combined wealth of over $325 billion.

List of the 2022’s biggest charitable donations

Bill Gates

Bill Gates is at the top of the list, having donated $5 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support its work in global health, development, policy and advocacy, and American education.

Gates, whose estimated net wealth is $104 billion, gained notoriety in July when he declared he would donate $20 billion to the foundation he co-founded with Melinda French Gates.

The $15 billion that he and French Gates had pledged in July 2021 was paid off using three-fourths of that $20 billion, foundation officials acknowledged in December. The foundation received a fresh inflow of the remaining $5 billion.

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Ann and John Doerr

Ann and John Doerr came in second with a $1.1 billion donation they’re giving through their Benificus Foundation to Stanford University to launch the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, an effort to tackle the world’s most urgent climate and sustainability challenges.

The new school will focus on eight areas of scholarship: climate change, Earth and planetary sciences, energy technology, sustainable cities, the natural environment, food and water security, human society and behavior, and human health and the environment.

John Doerr is a venture-capital investor who made his mark and much of his fortune as an early backer of Silicon Valley technology giants like Sun Microsystems, Amazon, and Google. Today he serves as chairman of the investment firm Kleiner Perkins, and his net worth stands at a little more than $9 billion.

Jackie and Mike Bezos

Coming in third are Jackie and Mike Bezos, the mother and stepfather of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. 

The couple gave the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center $710.5 million to build 36 research labs and an additional large research facility. The grant will also support the cancer center’s clinical trials and immunotherapy research over the next 10 years.

The couple have been fairly low-profile philanthropists until recently.

Yet Jackie Bezos has been closely involved in several nonprofit projects over the years. 

She created the Bezos Scholars Program at the Aspen Institute, the Aspen Challenge, and Students Rebuild, all of which are education programs for various age groups.

Mike Bezos spent 32 years working as an engineer and manager with the oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil before retiring and turning his attention to the couple’s giving.

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The gifts from the Doerrs and the Bezoses were followed by one from Warren Buffett. The revered 92-year-old investor gave stock valued at nearly $474.3 million to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, a grantmaker Warren Buffett established in 1964 to manage the family’s charitable giving that was later renamed for his first wife, who died in 2004.

The foundation supports women’s reproductive health and provides college scholarships for students in Nebraska, where the foundation is located.

Ruth DeYoung Kohler II 

The late Ruth DeYoung Kohler II comes in fifth on the list. The Kohler Company heiress, who died in 2020 at 79, left a $440 million bequest to launch the Ruth Foundation for the Arts, a Milwaukee grantmaker that is devoted to supporting visual- and performing arts groups throughout the country. It plans to award about $20 million a year.

Kohler was an avid arts supporter and ran the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, from 1972 to 2016.

Kohler II is followed by MacKenzie Scott, the novelist and Amazon co-founder, who gave $436 million to Habitat for Humanity International. The gift was unrestricted, as has been the case with most of Scott’s giving.

When Habitat for Humanity officials announced the gift in March, they said they plan to use the money to tackle the global housing crisis and advocate for systemwide changes to increase fair access to low-cost housing for everyone.

Two additional gifts from Scott — $281 million to Boys & Girls Clubs of America and $275 million to Planned Parenthood Federation of America — also landed on the list.

The Chronicle’s annual rankings are based on the 10 biggest publicly announced gifts. The tally does not include contributions of artwork or gifts from anonymous donors. 

In February, the Chronicle will unveil its annual ranking of the 50 biggest donors, a list based on individuals’ total contributions in 2022 rather than individual gifts.

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