THE CHRONICLE OF
PHIL A NTHROPY®
The Newspaper of the Nonprofit World
Volume XXIII, No. 6 • February 10, 2011 • $5
After a Frugal Year,
2011 May See a Jump
in Top Donors’ Giving
By Maria Di Mento and Caroline Preston
THE YEAR 2010 brought a lot of talk of philanthro- py by the super-rich—but not much giving. Despite more than 50 billionaires announcing last year that they would ultimately devote at least
half of their wealth to charity, few made big gifts in
Just 17 people on The Chronicle’s annual list of the
50 most-generous donors also appeared on Forbes magazine’s list of the 400 wealthiest Americans.
Over all, the donors on The Chronicle’s list—which
actually numbered 54 this year, thanks to some ties
in the rankings—committed a combined total of $3.3-
billion, the smallest sum since The Chronicle began to
track the biggest donors in 2000. The list measures
the cumulative total each individual gives to charitable causes, not simply the biggest donations of the
year. Just nine people on the list committed more than
$100-million in 2010, compared with 16 in 2007 and
18 in 2006. The median gift was $39.6-million, down
from $41.4-million in 2009, $69.3-million in 2008, and
$74.4-million in 2007.
Donors and nonprofit officials said fears of the economy sliding back into recession and uncertainty about
tax rules combined to shrink big giving. But with the
federal estate tax and deduction limits resolved, at
least temporarily, and warnings about a double-dip
recession having faded, 2011 could be rosier.
“I’m optimistic about it; people will take some of this
Continued on Page 6
MARC STAMAS/GETTY IMAGES
Tamsen Ann Ziff, a jewelry designer and boutique owner, gave $30-million to the Metropolitan
Opera, placing her in a tie for No. 35 on The Chronicle’s ranking of the most-generous U.S. donors.
Total given in 2010 by Philanthropy 50
donors, the smallest total in the
history of the rankings
Median gift in 2010, compared
with $77.4-million in 2007, the last
year before the recession hit
11 Money-Magnet Ideas for 2011
DELAWARE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HIS TORY
As the climate for raising money warms up, charities are getting creative
to attract donors . The Delaware Museum of Natural History, for instance,
offers perks to help lure new members. To learn more about the latest fund-raising brainstorms, go to Page 19.
Government Budget Woes Cause
Troubles for Health Charities
By Suzanne Perry
LIKE MANY nonprofit leaders across the country, Norma Jean Vesco- vo is worried that the continuing
wave of state budget cuts will have devastating consequences for the people
her group helps.
But not many of her peers can say
their concerns are getting the attention
of the nation’s highest court.
The U.S. Supreme Court last month
agreed to consider a case that pits Ms.
Vescovo’s charity, Independent Living
Center of Southern California, against
state officials in a battle over payments
for medical services provided to poor
The case could determine whether
nonprofits and other private groups
have the legal right to challenge certain state actions that they think violate federal law.
The high-profile legal case arises
from the kind of debate that is now
echoing in many state capitols.
California says it needs to cut spending on Medi-Cal, the state’s version of
Medicaid, so it can plug a gaping budget hole and try to restore the recession-wracked state to fiscal health.
But Ms. Vescovo, whose group helps
people with disabilities live independently, says lawmakers should find a solution that doesn’t hurt health care for
the state’s most vulnerable people.
“They’re in a mess, they’re in a real
problem,” she says of California law-
makers. “But you have to decide what
kind of cuts are not going to kill peo-
Twenty-two states have lined up to
Continued on Page 23
EZRA MILLS TEIN /HABI TAT FOR HUMANI T Y
n Why skillfully documenting their
work in photographs enables
charities to gain public attention
and financial support—and how
they can get expert, affordable
help to make better pictures.
Waiting for a Windfall
n Two foundations created by
Margaret A. Cargill are
crafting plans to distribute $9-
billion in assets, more than all
but the nation’s two wealthiest
foundations. Page 15