List of philanthropists

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Herodes Atticus, a Greek philanthropist of Classical Rome active during the second century (antiquity)

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.

Notable philanthropists[edit]

Greatest philanthropists by amount of USD[edit]

The following table orders the greatest philanthropists by estimated amount given to charity, corresponding to USD.

Name Amount given Cause
Bill Gates $35 billion[citation needed] Healthcare, extreme poverty, education, access to information technology
Warren Buffett $30.80 billion[citation needed] Healthcare, education, AIDS-prevention, sanitation
Li Ka-shing $10.7 billion[citation needed] Education, healthcare
Andrew Carnegie $9.5 billion[citation needed] Libraries, education, peace
Azim Premji $8 billion[20] Education, healthcare
Chuck Feeney $6.8 billion[citation needed] Healthcare, youth, ageing, poverty, human rights
George Soros $6.1 billion[citation needed] Healthcare, anti-fascist publications, human rights, economic, legal, and social reform
Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal $3.5 billion[21] 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[22] Education, healthcare, intercollegiate athletics
James E. Stowers $2 billion[23] Healthcare
Howard Hughes $1.56 billion[citation needed] Healthcare

See also[edit]

For a longer list of philanthropists, see Category: Philanthropists.


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  12. ^ "James Packer leaves $200 million on the table". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  13. ^ Ramirez, Anthony (2006). "Exclusive Interview: Billionaire Ronald Perelman With His Dad". Fortune Magazine. Retrieved September 21, 2011.
  14. ^ "King Faisla International Prize".[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Destination Jeddah: Who's Who".[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Saudi prince to donate $32bn fortune to charity". BBC News. July 1, 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  17. ^ Stephanie Simon (October 30, 2006). "Unregulated Groups Wield Millions To Sway Voters". Los Angeles Times.
  18. ^ The Campaign Finance Institute Archived 2016-09-10 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ Open Secrets
  20. ^
  21. ^ Saudi Prince Alwaleed pledges $32bn to charity - Al Jazeera English
  22. ^ Rogoway, Mike. "Phil and Penny Knight's charitable contributions top $2 billion". The Oregonian. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  23. ^ "James E. Stowers Jr., Benefactor of Medical Research, Dies at 90". The New York Times. 19 March 2014.

Further reading[edit]

  • Grimm, Robert T. Notable American Philanthropists: Biographies of Giving and Volunteering (2002) excerpt