6 • THE CHRONICLE OF PHILANTHROPY
FEBRUARY 9, 2012
GIVING AND FUNDRAISING
Social-Service Charities Rarely Get Gifts Above $5-Million From Donors
efeller Philanthropy Advisors, says the
gap between rich and poor is influencing how some wealthy clients think
about philanthropy. One new foundation client is zeroing in on human needs
in New York, she says, while longtime
supporters of education want to ensure
their money prepares people for jobs.
But The Chronicle survey shows that
the “haves” of the nonprofit world—
namely the larger, better-known charities—got the lion’s share of gifts.
Excluding Ms. Cargill’s bequest, 36
percent of the dollars from benefactors
on the Philanthropy 50 went to higher
education; 35 percent went to private
foundations; 15 percent to hospitals,
medical centers, and medical research;
and 7 percent to museums, libraries,
and historic preservation. No Philanthropy 50 donor gave a gift of $5-mil-
lion or more directly to a social-service
It’s not that wealthy people don’t
write checks to such charities. They do,
according to Chronicle data and interviews with donors. They just reserve
their $25-million, and even their $5-
million, gifts for other types of institutions.
That’s in part because many philanthropists don’t see human-service organizations as the best way to alleviate
America’s problems. And that’s not likely to change even in light of the country’s lingering economic troubles.
For example, Eli Broad (No. 49), the
real-estate mogul, says he has “some
sympathy” for the Occupy Wall Street
protestors. But their message about inequality supports his diagnosis of what
ails America: a poor education system.
Continued from Page 1
pledged $25-million to Yale, or to spur
business development in poor countries,
like Robert E. and Dorothy J. King (No.
8), who gave $154.5-million to Stanford.
Other charities don’t necessarily craft
such ambitious appeals, say donors and
nonprofit officials. And donors who want
to leave a legacy worry that the newer
nonprofits, unlike four-century-old Harvard, might not be around in 25 or 100
But more groups are trying to get
into the big-giving game. Bob Carter,
a fundraising consultant in Sarasota,
Fla., says charities that have long re-
“I hate to see this
pitted as an either/or
discussion. There are
so many worthy
ReuteRs/Rick Wilking /landov
Businessman John C. Malone (No. 28) gave $57-milion in 2011, including
$50-million to Yale University to endow 10 engineering professorships.
Mr. Broad, who has been backing efforts to change public schools since the
late 1990s, says he thinks the downturn
will produce more education donors.
A ‘Virtuous Cycle’
Also at play may be the fact that
fundraising success tends to breed
fundraising success. Since 2007, eight
nonprofits have won at least four gifts
apiece of $10-million or more from multiple donors in The Chronicle’s top 50
rankings. All eight are universities and
university medical centers. Half are Ivy
Ms. Berman says groups like those
are benefiting from a “virtuous cycle”
of big giving. Other, smaller, organizations are stuck in a “vicious cycle”:
Many donors don’t want to be the first
to make a whopper of a gift to an untested charity.
Mr. Broad says that social-service
groups and those that aren’t winning
big gifts “have to make a better case for
the needs than they have to date.”
Big donors are turning to universi-
ties for projects to advance research on
clean energy, like Thomas F. Steyer and
Kathryn A. Taylor (tied for No. 33), who
lied mostly on mailings for money are
doing more to seek big gifts. He is help-
ing nonprofits like United Way World-
wide and World Vision shape strategies
that will appeal to multimillionaires
Most-Generous Donors Gave More in 2011 but Still Lag Their Pre-Recession Pace
By Maria Di Mento
and Caroline Preston
AS THE STOCK MARKET RESURGED last year, so did the charita- ble giving of the super wealthy.
America’s top 50 donors gave a total of
$10.4-billion in 2011, up from $3.3-bil-
lion the previous year, according to a
Chronicle study. One big bequest boosted the total significantly; excluding that
gift, the philanthropists on The Chronicle’s list of the most generous Americans contributed $4.4-billion.
Twenty-nine people on the list donated $50-million or more, compared with
22 in 2010. Rich people and the fundraisers who woo them expect greater
levels of giving this year and next, assuming the economy keeps creeping toward recovery.
“Consumer confidence is up, business
confidence is up modestly,” says Eli
Broad (No. 49), the real-estate mogul
who last year gave $27-million to his
foundations. “If that continues, people
will open their purses wider.”
But wealthy people still aren’t feeling
as generous as in pre-recession times.
The median gift from donors on the list
was $61-million, compared with $74.7-
million in 2007.
The philanthropists on The Chronicle’s Philanthropy 50 list are a mix of
old money and new, famous and unfamiliar names, longtime charity patrons
and those fresh to public displays of largesse.
Margaret A. Cargill, a press-shy agribusiness heiress, topped the list with a
$6-billion bequest to two foundations
she set up to support the arts, the environment, disaster relief, and other
causes. Ms. Cargill died in 2006 but
the foundations weren’t able to liquidate her assets until last year.
The No. 2 spot went to the late Wil-
liam S. Dietrich II, a steel executive. He
left $500-million to a foundation that
will largely benefit universities. The
Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, the
financier George Soros, and New York
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg rounded
out the top five. (Bill Gates, Mr. Al-
len’s one-time business partner, gave
his foundation about $67.9-million last
year, but he’s not on the list because
the money is a payment on a pledge Mr.
Gates and his wife, Melinda, made in
Caroline Bermudez contributed to this