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Jeff Bezos Tops The List Of The Most Philanthropic People Of 2020

The top 50 donors gave $24.7 billion in 2020, a considerable increase from the $15.8 billion they gave in 2019. 16 of them became wealthy because to technology. They are from California, twenty of them.

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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has long been chastised by the press for the relatively little he gives to charity despite his massive $194 billion net worth. He set out to approach things a little differently in 2020 and ultimately came in first place on the list of the most charitable individuals of the year. Bezos gave $100 million to Feeding America and $10 billion to the Bezos Earth Fund. Bezos recently made the announcement that he was resigning as CEO of Amazon in order to devote more time to philanthropy and other endeavors.

Nonprofit organizations are not the only ones with significant donations on the list. It occasionally gives priority to foundations and other charitable vehicles that later give to nonprofit organizations. The $10 billion pledged by Bezos to the Bezos Earth Fund is seen as a contribution to a nonprofit organization. However, once more, where is that $10 billion? Was it really placed in Bezos’ foundation, donor-advised fund, or LLC? Or is donating it more of an ongoing commitment? Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan vowed to donate 99% of their money to philanthropy in 2015 and that wasn’t counted as part of that year’s list, so why is Bezos’ this year? Is it just that it’s a compelling tale of a very wealthy man who, until this time, hadn’t given nearly enough to charity?

When we look at what Bezos actually gave, we may give him credit for the $100 million he gave to more than 200 Feeding America chapters and the $790 million the Bezos Earth Fund gave to environmental organizations. He would therefore receive credit for $890 million in charity contributions, placing him in sixth position for 2020 and his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott in first. And in a way, that makes sense because Scott, unlike her spouse, who has yet to join The Giving Pledge, has demonstrated a strong dedication to philanthropy nearly from the minute the ink on her divorce order dried.

MacKenzie Scott, Bezos’ ex-wife, came in second. In 2020, Scott gave $5,7 billion. She received 20 million Amazon shares as part of the divorce settlement, which is almost one-fourth of Jeff and MacKenzie’s combined ownership during their marriage. That is worth $60 billion as of the time of writing. She promised to “…donate the majority of my riches back to society that helped earn it, to do it intelligently, to get started promptly, and to keep at it until the safe is empty” after receiving the settlement. To 512 groups, including food banks, racial justice charities, human care organizations, and HBCUs, MacKenzie provided seven- and eight-figure grants.

ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images

using ERIC BARADAT/AFP images from Getty

Michael Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York City, came in third place. He gave $1.6 billion to a variety of organizations, including the arts, education, and public health. Phil Knight, the creator of Nike, and his wife Penelope placed fourth with a donation of $1.4 billion. They received $900.7 million for their Knight Foundation. Square and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey rounds out the top five with $1.1 billion donated into a fund that has distributed at least $330 million to more than 100 nonprofits.

Other notable donations include the $50 million made to racial and social justice organizations by basketball legend Michael Jordan, the $65 million made by Charles and Helen Schwab to address homelessness in San Francisco, the $120 million made by Reed Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin to provide financial aid for students at HBCUs, and the $25 million made by Airbnb’s Joe Gebbia to two San Francisco charities working to address homelessness in the city and assist those in need.

Elon Musk, currently the wealthiest person in the world did not crack the top 50. In actuality, his lifetime contributions total only 0.05 percent of his wealth.

Other philanthropic billionaires, like Warren Buffett, don’t appear on the list because, as is the case with Buffet, their donations were part of an earlier pledge. When Buffet made his pledge in 2006, his contribution to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was recorded.

The top 50 donors gave $24.7 billion in 2020, a considerable increase from the $15.8 billion they gave in 2019.

Number 10. Denny Sanford
$224.2 million was donated to various charity.
Sector: banker

#9. June and Frederick Kummer
$300 million will go to the Kummer Institute Foundation Sector: June works as an architect, while Frederick owns a construction company.

Eric and Wendy Schmidt, position 7
the sum of $469.6 million.
Biggest donation: $353.3 million went to Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fund for Strategic Innovation Industry: former Google CEO

#6. Laura and John Arnold
the sum of $569 million.
A $482 million gift was made to the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.
Industry: retired hedge fund manager

No. 5: Jack Dorsey
$1 billion will go to donor-advised funds.
Entrepreneur and CEO of Twitter and Square

#4. Penelope Knight and Phil
the sum of $1.4 billion.
The Knight Foundation received the largest donation of $900.7 million from the Nike co-founder.

Michael Bloomberg, #3
$1.6 billion was donated to various charities.
Founder of the financial news organization Bloomberg

Number One: Jeff Bezos $10.2 billion
Biggest donation: $10 billion to Bezos Earth Fund Industry: Amazon founder