News The Power of Giving

Young Tech Donors Dominate Philanthropy 50

Bill and Melinda Gates, Bil Gates, Melinda Gates
It hardly comes as a surprise that philanthropic power couple Bill and Melinda Gates led the pack for philanthropy in 2014. Image: Suzie Katz via Flickr CC

When a lot of people think of the world’s top philanthropists, the image of an old business magnate writing checks from behind their desk might come to mind. Not so, says The Chronicle of Philanthropy, which recently reported that some of the most generous and influential philanthropists out there today are young people in tech industries.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy contributors Alex Daniels and Maria Di Mento report, “America’s 50 most generous donors increased their giving by 27.5 percent last year – powered in large part by a $1.5-billion gift from Bill and Melinda Gates and a stunning rise in the number of tech entrepreneurs under 40, three of whom gave more than $500-million each,” of the changing demographic of prominent philanthropists. Furthermore, The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual “Philanthropy 50” reveals that more technology entrepreneurs are stepping up when it comes to giving back generously.

Here are the top 5 donors in the “Philanthropy 50”:

  1. Bill and Melinda Gates. It should come as no surprise that this philanthropic power couple ranked at number one in 2014 for their continually inspiring generosity. Last year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated roughly $1.5 billion towards poverty initiatives, educational opportunities, and human service programs.
  2. Ralph C. Wilson Jr. In 2014, Wilson, who passed away at 95 the same year, donated roughly $1 billion to nonprofits in western New York and southeastern Michigan through his eponymous foundation.
  3. Theodore (Ted) Stanley. Mr. Stanley donated an estimated $652,394,500 to the Broad Institute, which will put the substantial donation towards research into the genetic sequencing of conditions like schizophrenia and autism.
  4. Jan Koum. Like Bill Gates, Koum’s wealth source is derived from the technology industry. At 38 years old, he was one of the surprising additions to this year’s “Philanthropy 50” in that he is a notably younger philanthropist than many on the list. Koum donated roughly $556 million to nonprofits in 2014.
  5. Sean N. Parker. Rounding out the top five is Sean Paker, who donated an estimated $550 million to the fields of medicine and science in 2014. Until recently, Parker kept a low philanthropic profile, but has recently emerged as one of the most prominent philanthropists in the country. At just 35 and in the tech industry, he also supports The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s observations about how young tech donors are dominating the world of philanthropy.

Be sure to read more about how young tech donors are taking a leading role in the realm of philanthropy over at The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Organizations The Power of Giving

The Greatest Philanthropic Contributions of 2014

Image: via Shutterstock

2014 was a great year in the world of philanthropy. Organizations and individual philanthropists gave generously over the last 12 months, and it was inspiring to see such bigheartedness. Here, we highlight some of the greatest philanthropic contributions of 2014 in the areas of education, health, the arts, and other charitable foundations.

Health – One of the biggest charitable donations within the health sector in 2014 came from Henry R. Kravis and his wife Marie-Josée, whose contribution of $100 million to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center allowed for the formation of a new, cutting edge molecular oncology center. Another significant philanthropic contribution came from Gert Boyle, who donated $100 million to the Oregon Health and Science University, a nationally prominent research university.

Education – In 2014, Hong Kong real estate developer Ronnie Chan donated $175 million to Harvard University in what became one of the largest philanthropic donations from a single donor of the year. Additionally, Chan’s brother Gerald matched Ronnie’s donation, generously offering another $175 million to the Ivy League institution. San Diego-based philanthropist Conrad Prebys gave not once but twice to San Diego State University in 2014, in another showing of generosity towards higher education.

Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett gave the largest donation of 2014.   Image: Flickr CC via Fortune Live Media

The Arts – In early 2014 news broke that the Denver Art Museum would receive 22 impressionist landscapes from collector and philanthropist Frederic C. Hamilton. The generous donation is estimated by art experts to be worth as much as $100 million, and was one of the largest philanthropic contributions to the arts this year. Another major donation to the arts in 2014 came from Jerry Perenchio, who pledged an astounding $500,000,000 worth of artworks to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Charitable Foundations – According to Market Watch, the single largest charitable donation from one person in 2014 came from none other than Warren Buffett. Buffett reportedly donated $2.1 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which supports initiatives in education, world health, and community giving in the Pacific Northwest.


Bill and Melinda Gates Will Not Be Leaving Children Their Fortune

At a recent TED conference in Vancouver Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, and his wife Melinda opened up about their personal lives. The pair said they would not be leaving all their wealth to their three children. The couple stated they will instead encourage their children to make their own way in the world.

Gates said that instead of just giving them money, they have given their two daughters and son a good education so they can pave their own success rather than rely on their parents’ fortune. Gates said: “We want to strike a balance so they have the freedom to do anything, but not sort of a lot of money showered on them so that they can go out and do nothing.”

Melinda Gates talked about a recent Tanzania trip she took with her eldest daughter Jen, where they stayed with a family in a rural area to learn more about the barriers to education for girls in the country. The couple stated Warren Buffet, who has taken a similar approach with his children, inspires their parenting style.

The Gates have joined the Giving Pledge, which is committed to diverting personal wealth to philanthropy, a pledge Buffet has also made. The couple argued that leaving a huge sum to their children is no good for their families or society.


Three Prominent Philanthropic “Power Couples”

Meryl Streep and Donald Gummer
s_bukley /
Meryl Streep and Donald Gummer have given millions to different philanthropic organizations.

When it comes to donating funds to worthy causes, two givers are always better than one. Happily, there are many charitable foundations backed by two philanthropic people, most commonly a husband and wife team. Leading businesspeople, celebrities, and entrepreneurs have donated millions of dollars, as well as their time to important causes, and more often than not, their philanthropically-likeminded partner helps to make the impact of giving that much stronger. Here are three notable “power couples” committed to philanthropy right now:

Meryl Streep and Donald Gummer: Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep and her husband, sculptor Donald Gummer, are two of the most generous philanthropists in Hollywood, and also perhaps the most discreet. Their philanthropy might come as a surprise to many; the two never seek praise or recognition for their monetary donations, but have given millions to organizations like Oxfam America, Partners in Health, and Vassar College, to name a few. Through their privately established Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts, Streep and Gummer have created education and arts-based grants, helping charter schools, people seeking higher education, and arts initiatives.

Bill and Melinda Gates: This power couple is known for their remarkably generous contributions to charity through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other outlets. Reportedly having a net worth of $72 billion, the couple has publicly pledged to eventually donate as much as 95% of their wealth to charity. With a primary focus on improving education, and impacting global health and development programs, as of 2007, Bill and Melinda Gates had already donated over $28 billion to worthy causes around the world. To learn more about this philanthropic duo, read our detailed profiles of Bill Gates and Melinda Gates.

Pierre and Pam Omidyar: Pierre Omidyar is known as the founder of the online auction site eBay, but has become even more of a prominent figure as a philanthropist. In 2004, Pierre and his wife Pam created the Omidyar Network, a philanthropic foundation that invests in and assists innovative organizations that will eventually impact social, economic, and political change. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that “the goal of their work is to make a social impact,” and that they have already donated hundreds of millions of dollars to organizations that will impact the most societal change.

These are just three of the many philanthropic-minded couples that have generously donated time and money to worthy causes. What other philanthropic “power couples” can you think of?


Applying for a Grant

IMG: via Shutterstock

Grants can be a great way to fund new or existing projects and research that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. For organizations, grants can help them afford to carry out a new project or pay for the staff to complete it. New equipment could be bought with grant money, initiatives carried out. Not all projects require capital, but many do—and grants can be a great resource, especially since it’s money that won’t need to be paid back.

But the application process is often time-consuming and strenuous, and takes some practice. Those considering applying for a grant should allow ample time to 1) Decide if a grant is the right course of action; 2) Find the right grant for the project; and 3) Prepare and write a grant proposal.

There are three main sources when it comes to who offers grant. These sources include the following:

1)   The government—local, state, and federal

2)   Businesses and corporations

3)   Foundations

Federal grants are often available, and depending on the grant can be quite large as well. For example, each year thousands of students receive Pell Grants, which pay for part or all of a student’s college tuition. Many students wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford move on to higher education if it wasn’t for this federal assistance.

Businesses and corporations are also a great resource when searching for grants. Large corporations like Moody’s Corporation have a multitude of grants available in several different categories. Moody’s CEO Raymond McDaniel has actively cultivated a spirit of giving within the corporation.

Perhaps the largest source of grants are foundations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Each year, foundations provide millions of dollars to community groups and organizations. For example, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded over $25 billion since its inception, and continues to grant more each year.

Once an appropriate grant has been located, the application process can begin. This generally consists of paperwork, usually including a short proposal and possibly credentials. Every organization has different guidelines to follow, which should be clearly outlined on their website or grant documents. Those applying for a grant should follow instructions as closely as possible or risk their proposal being thrown out.