The 10 Americans Who Gave Away the Most Money Last Year

Ten Americans gave away over $160 million each last year. The richest couple in the world is at the top of the list. One person on the list died in 2018. Five made their money in the tech industry. One may run for president in 2020.

According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, which posts a list of the top 50 American givers each year, the donations plunged from 2017. Their research shows those on the list “contributed a total of more than $7.8 billion last year, a steep drop from the $14.7 billion the top 50 donors gave in 2017.” The organization’s top 50 comes from the total amount those on the list gave to charities in 2018. Another distinction, according to the research, is that many of those who gave large sums are not among America’s mega-rich. “Although many of the people on the list are household names, not all are, and that is a sign that not all of America’s wealthiest are giving big sums to charity every year. Just 21 of the people on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans appear on this year’s Philanthropy 50; the rest are less affluent.”

The range of causes is very wide. Many of the gifts were to foster future technology, which includes artificial intelligence. Others gave money to large universities.

Topping the list, Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie gave $2 billion. Bezos generally is considered the richest man in the world, with a net worth of $136 billion. He and his wife are in the midst of a messy divorce. Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, gave $261,432,500. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2009 and died on October 15, 2018. Other tech billionaires on the list include Pierre and Pam Omidyar. He was a founder and former board chair of eBay. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie made the list. So did Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.

These are the top 10 donors to charitable organizations in 2018.

  1. Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos gave $2 billion.
  2. Michael Bloomberg gave $767 million.
  3. Pierre and Pam Omidyar gave $392 million.
  4. Stephen Schwarzman gave $390 million.
  5. Steve and Connie Ballmer gave $295 million.
  6. Paul Allen gave $261,432,500.
  7. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan gave $213,598,215.
  8. John and Laura Arnold gave $204.3 million.
  9. Jay Alix gave $200 million.
  10. Edward Bass gave $160 million.