Buffett Helps Set Record in Charity Pledges; Top 15 Biggest Gifts

Warren Buffett’s historic $31 billion pledge to the Gates Foundation made 2006 a banner year for US charitable giving, smashing previous records by a huge margin, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. A record 15 individuals pledged more than $100 million each to single institutions. 

The top 15 charitable gifts and pledges in the US accounted for $35 billion in 2006, compared to $2 billion for the largest 15 gifts of 2005 and $4.4 billion for the biggest 15 in 2004, according to the Chronicle. 

Mr Buffett’s $31 billion gift – which will help the Gates Foundation pursue its goal of curing the world’s 20 leading fatal diseases – is the biggest charitable donation in history.  Mr. Buffett  pledged 10 million shares to the Gates Foundation over his lifetime, has grown in value since it was announced, to $36-billion last week. 

At least 14 other individuals pledged more than $100-million each to single institutions last year, setting a new record in the 10 years . The number of donations of $100-million or more reached 12 in 1998, when several technology entrepreneurs and other wealthy Americans announced substantial donations. Last year, 10 donations of that size were made.

In 2006, the list was dominated by people who made their fortunes in the financial and real-estate industries rather than the technology donors who have played a big role in the lists of recent years.

The beneficiaries of the biggest gifts of 2006 were mostly foundations or colleges. Nine gifts went to foundations, four to colleges and universities, and one to a hospital. 

Top 15 Biggest Gifts and Pledges Announced by Individuals in 2006

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