6. William Barron Hilton:
Total Amount Committed: $1,200,000,000 (2007)
Foundation: Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Source of Wealth: President; Hilton Hotels, President
Forbes 400 Ranking: #144
Son of Conrad Hilton, Barron Hilton, following a few business ventures of his own, made his fortune after becoming the president of his father’s Hilton Hotels in 1966. In 2007, the now 82-year-old Hilton sold the hotel chain to The Blackstone Group, earning himself a personal profit of $800 million. He now dedicates a substantial amount of his time to philanthropy, specifically through the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, to which he committed $1.2 billion in 2007. The foundation’s main charitable goals are providing safe water to people in developing nations, fighting homelessness in Los Angeles, fighting drug abuse, and supporting education for young children, specifically foster children in the United States and children affected by AIDS in developing countries.
7. Michael R. Bloomberg
Total Amount Committed: $1,141,000,000
Foundation: Bloomberg Family Foundation
Source of Wealth: Founder and Majority Owner; Bloomberg L.P.
Forbes 400 Ranking: #10
With a fortune of approximately $18 billion, Michael Bloomberg is not only one of the wealthiest men in the United States, but in the world. Bloomberg has found tremendous success not only financially, through his company Bloomberg L.P., but also politically, as the acting mayor of New York City since 2002. Fortunately, he has subscribed to the Warren Buffet philosophy of actively giving away one’s wealth during their lifetime. Bloomberg has consistently made the list of greatest American philanthropists since 2004, and has donated over $1 billion to causes such as public health and the arts. On his decision to give during his lifetime, he has said, “Why wait? Why deny financial aid to this generation?”
8. James E. and Virginia G. Stowers
Total Amount Committed: $1,122,640,000
Foundation: Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Source of Wealth: Founder; American Century Investments (James)
Forbes 400 Ranking: N/A
The only person on our list aside from Herbert Sandler to lose their Forbes 400 ranking as a result of massive philanthropic giving, Jim Stowers has dedicated the majority of his success to charity. After obtaining substantial wealth through his company, American Century Investments, Jim and his wife Virginia, both of whom survived cancer, began the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City in 1994. They have since done great amounts to fund this disease research center, including a 2001 donation of over $1.1 billion.
9. Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney
Total Amount Committed: $1,015,500,000
Foundation: Peter G. Peterson Foundation
Source of Wealth: Former CEO of Lehman Brothers and Co-Founder of The Blackstone Group (Peter)
Forbes 400 Ranking: #182
After leading a full and successful career, including co-founding the Blackstone Group, Commerce Secretary under the Nixon administration, and CEO of Lehman Brothers, Peter G. Peterson has turned to philanthropy following his retirement in 2008. His most notable donation was his 2008, when he gave over $1 billion to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which he made along with his wife Joan Ganz Cooney, co-creator of Sesame Street. The foundation works mostly with issues dealing with federal deficits and various tax policies, issues which Peterson views as being imperative to the well being of the nation’s future.
10. George Soros
Foundation: Open Society Institute, Soros Foundations
Source of Wealth: Hedge Fund Manager
Forbes 400 Ranking: #14
Soros, CEO and founder of Quantum Fund, is the wealthiest hedge fund manager in the world. He has been active in philanthropy since the 70’s, when he gave money to help impoverished black students attend university in Apartheid South Africa. Over his career, Soros has given money to anti-Soviet dissident groups during the Cold War, and recently gave $100 million to Russian universities to provide Internet access. His largest recent donations include a $100 million pledge to the Human Rights Watch in 2007. Forbes estimates that Soros has donated roughly $8 billion since 1979.
Charles B. Stockdale, Douglas A. McIntyre