List of philanthropists
A philanthropist is someone who engages in philanthropy; that is, someone who donates his or her time, money, and/or reputation to charitable causes. The term may apply to any volunteer or to anyone who makes a donation, but the label is most often applied to those who donate large sums of money or who make a major impact through their volunteering, such as a trustee who manages a philanthropic organization.
A philanthropist may not always find universal approval for his/her deeds. Common accusations include supporting an unworthy cause (such as funding art instead of fighting world hunger) or having selfish motivation at heart (such as avoiding taxes or attaining personal fame). A philanthropist is also someone who cares for someone else's needs instead of their own.
- Bono - one of the world's best-known philanthropic performers; named the most politically effective celebrity of all time by the National Journal
- Bill Gates - co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Melinda Gates - co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Fazle Hasan Abed - founder of BRAC
- Bill Ackman - in 2011, the Ackmans were among The Chronicle of Philanthropy's "Philanthropy 50" list of the most generous donors
- Jane Addams - co-founder of the Hull House settlement house in Chicago
- Prince Karim Aga Khan IV - founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network which focuses on health, education, culture, rural development, institution-building and the promotion of economic development
- Howard Ahmanson, Jr. - multi-millionaire philanthropist and financier of the causes of many conservative Christian cultural, religious and political organizations
- William Allen - founded and endowed many institutions and causes including 'Schools of Industry' at Lindfield and Newington Academy for Girls
- Tarek Ben Halim - investment banker and founder of Alfanar in 2004, the first Venture philanthropy organization with a special focus on the Arab world
- Marc Benioff - created the 1-1-1 model of integrated corporate philanthropy, by which companies contribute 1 percent of equity, 1 percent of employee hours, and 1 percent of product back to the community
- Michael Bloomberg - donations include over USD$1.1 billion to Johns Hopkins University
- David Bohnett - founder of the David Bohnett Foundation supporting a wide range of social issues including LGBT rights
- Jon Bon Jovi - American rock star; founder of The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation in 2006
- Warren Buffett - pledged US$30.7 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
- Arpad Busson - founder of Ark (Absolute Return for Kids) Academy
- Nicholas Murray Butler - president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1925-1945
- Andrew Carnegie - donated money to build over 2500 libraries worldwide; founder of the Carnegie Foundations, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Carnegie Mellon University
- Alagappa Chettiar - notable for work on Indian education
- George Clooney - known for humanitarian work in aiding the Darfur conflict, organizing Hope for Haiti Now, and involvement in Not On Our Watch
- Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury - chairman of the Ragged Schools Union (during the Victorian era)
- Peter Cooper - set up a free college in New York City to help poor people ambitious to improve themselves; Thomas Edison was an early alum
- Michael Dell - established the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, which focuses on grants, urban education, childhood health and family economic stability
- Richard Desmond - President of the Norwood Charity; raised around £14m for charitable causes with the RD Crusaders; helped build the Richard Desmond Children's Eye Centre part of Moorfields Eye Hospital
- Anthony J. Drexel - founder of Drexel University
- Sir Ganesh Dutt - longest-serving minister in British Empire who gave all his earnings to charitable works, especially education
- Abdul Sattar Edhi - head of the Edhi Foundation in Pakistan
- Bilquis Edhi - head of the[Edhi Foundation in Pakistan
- Larry Ellison - pledged to give more than half the value of his stock in Oracle Corporation to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
- Vijay Eswaran - founder of RYTHM foundation and Q NET
- Mohamed Al-Fayed - founder of The New School at West Heath
- Chuck Feeney - founder of Atlantic Philanthropies
- Henry Ford - co-founder of the Ford Foundation
- J. Paul Getty - funded the construction of the Getty Villa, the original Getty Museum, and donated his art collection to it; upon his death, left his fortune to the Getty Museum, which eventually expanded to the Getty Center in Los Angeles
- David Gilmour - singer and guitarist of Pink Floyd; was made CBE for his years of philanthropy; gave $7.5 million from sale of his London home to the homeless charity Crisis
- Kenneth C. Griffin - founder and CEO of Citadel LLC; co-founder of the Kenneth and Anne Griffin Foundation
- Edward Harkness - various private colleges and boarding schools; medical facilities; Commonwealth Fund
- John Harvard - one of the founders of Harvard College
- Milton Hershey - founded the Milton Hershey School for lower income children; invested millions of dollars
- Amal Hijazi - Lebanese singer, known for her philanthropy
- Vernon Hill - founder of Commerce Bank and President of Metro Bank; donated $10m to the Penns School of Veterinary Medicine
- Thomas Holloway - Victorian patent medicine entrepreneur and founder of Royal Holloway, University of London
- Johns Hopkins - founder of the Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Hospital
- Howard Hughes - aviator, engineer, industrialist and film producer; donated US$1.56 billion to various charities including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
- Rizwan Hussain - barrister, television presenter, international humanitarian worker; former Hindi music singer and producer; known for presenting Islamic and charity shows on Channel S and Islam Channel
- Dr. Mo Ibrahim - founder of telecom company Celtel International; set up the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to encourage better governance in Africa, and providing higher education scholarships for leadership and management for Africans; initiated the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership
- Yusuf Islam (also known as Cat Stevens) - founder of Islamic schools, Muslim Aid and Small Kindness
- Michael Jackson - donated more than US$500 million to various foundations and won numerous awards for his humanitarianism; founded the Heal the World Foundation
- Irwin M. Jacobs - has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to the field of education through donations and grants to schools and organizations
- Elton John - has raised more than US$125 million just for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. In 2004 he donated over US$43 million to organizations around the world, making him the most generous person in music for that year, "a title he retains year after year." In 1997 he raised US$40 million for charity through sales of the single "Goodbye England's Rose." He currently supports at least 57 charities.
- Angelina Jolie - American actress; known for her humanitarian work worldwide; a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency
- Virginia Weiffenbach Kettering - Dayton, Ohio's leading philanthropist and patron of the arts
- Alicia Keys - American singer/songwriter; spokeswoman for Keep A Child Alive
- Imran Khan - founder of the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust, which was behind the first cancer research institution in Pakistan
- Shahrukh Khan - the only Indian to receive UNESCO Pyramide con Marni award for his charity work in 2011
- Phil Knight - co-founder of Nike, Inc.; supporter of Oregon Health & Science University, Stanford University and the University of Oregon
- David Koch - founder of the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation; listed by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as one of the world's top 50 philanthropists
- Lady Gaga - founder of the Born This Way Foundation, a charity started in 2011
- H. F. Lenfest - donated $5 million in coherence with Chester County to preserve over 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of land in Newlin Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; the land is now owned by Natural Lands Trust
- Julius Curtis Lewis, Jr. - made an estimated lifetime donations of US$130 million to various civic, spiritual; charitable organizations, many in Savannah, Georgia
- Li Ka-shing - founder and chairman of the Li Ka Shing Foundation, which focuses on capacity empowerment through education and building of a caring society through medical and healthcare related projects; in 2006, pledged to donate one-third of his fortune estimated at over US$10 billion to philanthropic projects
- Demi Lovato - provides the Lovato Treatment Scholarship; supporter of 13 different charity organization; an official Ambassador for the youth empowerment event We Day and the organization Free the Children
- Juliette Gordon Low - founded Girl Scouts of the USA in 1912 in Savannah, Georgia
- Catherine T. MacArthur - co-founder of the MacArthur Foundation
- John D. MacArthur - co-founder of the MacArthur Foundation
- Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum - founder of the Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives, a grouping of some 33 charities, awards and philanthropic entities.
- Chris Martin - lead singer of British alternative rock band Coldplay; known for supporting the Make Trade Fair campaign; he and his band contribute 15% of their money to charity
- Paul Mellon - major benefactor of arts and education; co-founder of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
- Ailsa Mellon-Bruce - co-founder of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
- Mary Louise Milliken Childs - builder of the Milliken Memorial Community House, the first privately donated community house in America
- Sunil Bharti Mittal - set up Bharti Foundation which runs schools for 30,000 underprivileged children in rural India
- Samuel Morley MP - founded Morley College, London; endowed other institutions and causes
- Jamie and Karen Phelps Moyer - founded the Moyer Foundation to assist non-profit organizations in raising money for children with serious distress
- Elon Musk - chairman of the Musk Foundation.
- Sidney Myer - founder of the Australian Department store chain Myer
- Petra Němcová - Czech supermodel; founder of the Happy Hearts Fund
- Paul Newman - founder of Newman's Own and the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for seriously ill children; major donations to other charities
- Alfred Nobel - founder of the Nobel Prizes
- James Packer - jointly with his majority-owned company Crown Resorts pledged $200 million over 10 years to support Australian community groups
- Dolly Parton - country singer; advocate for children's education through her foundation, the Imagination Library, which gives books to children to develop their reading skills before starting school
- Princess Bernice Pauahi - left properties to the education of Hawaiian boys and girls in what is now Kamehameha Schools
- Linus Pauling - donated time and effort and spent personal funds to bring about the worldwide ban on above-ground nuclear weapons testing
- George Peabody - considered the father of modern philanthropy, who help to found cultural institutions in the United States and England.
- Ty Pennington - host of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition; advocate of doing good towards others in need and to those who give of themselves for the sake of others
- Iain Percy - co-founder of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation which was set up after the death of his best friend Andrew Simpson to facilitate children's access to sailing
- Raymond and Ruth Perelman - parents of Ronald O. Perelman; om 2011 donated $225 million to the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, the largest donation in that university's history
- Ronald O. Perelman - largest Revlon stockholder; has donated over $200 million to various causes since 2001, including a $50 million gift to create the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical Center; signed the Gates-Buffett Pledge in August 2010, committing up to half his assets to be designated for the benefit of charitable causes (after his family and children have been provided for)
- Ruth Pfau - head of the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre in Pakistan; as a result of her efforts, the World Health Organization declared leprosy a controlled disease in Pakistan in 1996
- Dame Shirley Porter - Tesco heiress; co-founder of The Porter Foundation; has donated to Tel Aviv University, social welfare facilities and ecological funding, the National Portrait Gallery in London
- Charles Pratt - founder of Pratt Institute
- Usher Raymond - American singer/songwriter; founding Chairman of the New Look Foundation; advocate for social justice
- Christopher Reeve - founder of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
- Werner Reinhart - industrialist, philanthropist, music and literature patron
- Hilmar Reksten - Norwegian shipping magnate, tax evader, patron of the arts
- Sir Cliff Richard - one of the vice-presidents of Tearfund, a British religious, relief and development agency; supports The Hunger Project, Kidney Research UK, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, Teenage Cancer Trust, Cliff Richard Tennis Foundation, Alzheimer's Research UK; opened two new purpose-built buildings for Self Unlimited, a national charity for people with learning disabilities
- Donald Rix - BC Innovation Council, BC Cancer Agency Foundation, BC Medical Services Foundation, and the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation
- Sir David Robinson - founder of the Robinson Charitable Trust and Robinson College
- John D. Rockefeller - founder of the Rockefeller Foundation and Rockefeller University
- John D. Rockefeller Jr. - dramatically expanded the Rockefeller Foundation and Rockefeller University; bought and then donated the land in Manhattan upon which the United Nations headquarters was built
- John D. Rockefeller III - major third-generation Rockefeller philanthropist; founder of the Asia Society (1956), the Population Council (1952) and a reconstituted Japan Society; chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation for 20 years; established the Rockefeller Public Service Awards in 1958
- J.K. Rowling - President of One Parent Families; advocate for social equity
- Joseph Rowntree - founder of the four Rowntree trusts
- Enriqueta Augustina Rylands - founder of the John Rylands Library
- Sandro Salsano - chairman of Salsano Group; founder of Salsano Shahani Foundation
- Achyuta Samanta - founder of the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS)
- Elinor Sauerwein - Salvation Army philanthropist
- Shakira - founder of Pies Descalzos Foundation
- Sir Run Run Shaw - founder of the Shaw Prize Foundation
- Charles Simonyi - founder of Charles and Lisa Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences, $100 million
- Gary Sinise - co-founder of Operation Iraqi Children
- George Soros - estimated to have donated more than US$6 billion, often through the Open Society Institute and Soros Foundations
- Sir Charles Henry de Soysa - Ceylonese entrepreneur who pioneered a multitude of medical, educational, religious and infrastructure projects
- Ellen Gates Starr - founder of the biomedical institute that bears his name Hull House
- James E. Stowers - founder of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research
- Levi Strauss - gave to many notable foundations of his time; gave to many Jewish synagogues and organizations
- Belinda Stronach - co-founder of Spread the Net
- John Studzinski - champion of the homeless and the arts in the UK; founder and owner of the Genesis Foundation
- Rajinikanth - South Indian actor
- Michelle Dilhara - Sri Lankan actress
- P. K. Subban - Canadian ice hockey player; donated $10 million to the Montreal Children's Hospital
- Abdul Rahman Al-Sumait - founder of Direct Aid, a charity organization that has built 124 hospitals and dispensaries, 840 schools, 204 Islamic centers, 214 women training centers and 2,200 mosques in Africa, has distributed thousands of tons of food and medicines in famine-stricken areas, and has adopted nearly 10,000 orphans
- Mr. T - actor; motivational speaker; donated all his gold to charity
- Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal - Chairman of investment firm Kingdom Holding Company; pledged US$32bn donation to his charity Alwaleed Philanthropies
- Marian Tompson - co-founder of La Leche League International, a breastfeeding support organization
- Cornelius Vanderbilt - funded Vanderbilt University
- William Henry Vanderbilt - co-founder of the Metropolitan Opera
- Paul Walker - founder of the charity Reach Out Worldwide
- Mary Lee Ware - principal sponsor of the Harvard Museum of Natural History's famous Glass Flowers exhibit; key player in the creation of the New Hampshire Rhododendron State Park
- William Wilberforce - English politician; headed successful parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade; later supported the campaign for complete abolition
- Oprah Winfrey - estimated donations above US$300 million, and founder of Oprah's Angel Network
- Isaac Wolfson - managing director of Great Universal Stores
- Steve Wozniak - provided the money, and some technical support, for technology program for the Los Gatos School district; co-founder of Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.)
- Mark Zuckerberg - co-founder of social media network Facebook
- Graham Rendall - English philanthropist.
- John R. Hunting, major contributor to liberal or progressive 527 organizations.
Greatest philanthropists by amount of USD
The following table orders the greatest philanthropists by estimated amount given to charity, corresponding to USD.
|Bill Gates||$35 billion||Healthcare, extreme poverty, education, access to information technology|
|Warren Buffett||$30.80 billion||Healthcare, education, AIDS-prevention, sanitation|
|Li Ka-shing||$10.7 billion||Education, healthcare|
|Andrew Carnegie||$9.5 billion||Libraries, education, peace|
|Azim Premji||$8 billion||Education, healthcare|
|Chuck Feeney||$6.8 billion||Healthcare, youth, ageing, poverty, human rights|
|George Soros||$6.1 billion||Healthcare, anti-fascist publications, human rights, economic, legal, and social reform|
|Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal||$3.5 billion||Foster cultural understanding, develop communities, empower women, enable youth, provide vital disaster relief and create a more tolerant and accepting world|
|Phil Knight||$2 billion||Education, healthcare, intercollegiate athletics|
|James E. Stowers||$2 billion||Healthcare|
|Howard Hughes||$1.56 billion||Healthcare|
|Look up philanthropist in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- List of wealthiest charitable foundations
- Charitable organization
- Development charities
- Foundation (charity)
- Non-profit organization
For a longer list of philanthropists, see Category: Philanthropists.
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