The 10 Largest Public Philanthropists

The 10 Largest Public Philanthropists

The 10 largest public philanthropists give billions of dollars to charity. These rich people have a knack for tackling global issues and making their mark on the world. Many of them have signed the Giving Pledge, a campaign encouraging ultra-rich individuals to dedicate most of their wealth to philanthropy.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Gates Foundation is the largest philanthropy in America and one of the most influential. Its giving programs primarily support global health and development.

The Gates Foundation has a clear vision and has forged strong partnerships with governments and other organizations. It is also known for its willingness to make big bets, such as funding a search for a vaccine against malaria that may take decades to bring to market.

Bloomberg Philanthropies

Michael Bloomberg, the founder of the media and financial company Bloomberg LP and one of the richest men in the world, runs his charitable giving enterprises as Bloomberg Philanthropies. The Foundation funds public health, environment, education, government innovation, and arts & culture.

Bloomberg Philanthropies recently launched a new program to help fund temporary public art projects in cities across the US. The organization invites mayors in cities with 30,000 or more residents to apply for up to $1 million over two years.

George Moore Foundation

The George Moore Foundation is one of the largest private philanthropy players in the US. It has a significant impact on the world at large.

A look at its most amazing gifts, including the one and only George Moore Distinguished Service Award, shows that it is more than just a cash cow. It’s also a major driver of social good. Among other things, it helps shape the future of our great city.

Azim Premji Foundation

The Azim Premji Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that promotes social development in India. Founded in 2001, the Foundation has been working towards making significant and long-term impacts in education, health, and sustainability.

The organization has an impressive track record of achieving scale and impact, primarily through its focus on education. Its work focuses on system-level reforms and investing in teacher training and capacity development.

Eli Lilly Endowment

The Eli Lilly Endowment is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation. It was established by the founders of Eli Lilly and Company through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business.

It funds effective programs throughout the United States, especially in education and religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown and home state of Indiana. This commitment has helped the Endowment earn a spot among the world’s top 10 public philanthropists.

Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is the world’s largest funder of medical research. Its efforts have fueled the development of critical medical interventions and helped to eradicate diseases such as malaria and polio.

Founded in 1936 with legacies from the pharmaceutical magnate Henry Wellcome, it focuses on science and medicine. It is credited with funding many of the most important discoveries in biomedical research, including a vaccine for polio and a cure for yellow fever.

Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation seeks a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. Its programs promote financial inclusion and advance youth learning, mostly in Africa.

The Foundation’s strategy, Young Africa Works(link is external), aims to enable 30 million young people to secure dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.

The Foundation’s Scholars Program(link is external) allows students whose talent and promise exceed their financial resources to complete their education, becoming change-makers who contribute to social and economic progress in Africa.

Phil Knight Foundation

Nike founder Phil Knight has given $1.9 billion to his Foundation since 2014, nearly double what he’s directly given to charity. Almost all of his gifts have been in the form of appreciated shares of Nike stock, which he can avoid paying capital gains taxes on.

He and his wife, Penny, also gave $500 million to expand the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact at the University of Oregon. They’re among the top donors to Stanford and OHSU, Nike’s alma maters.

Berkshire Hathaway

Warren Buffett is a legend in the business world and has made a name for himself as one of the best philanthropists in the world. He donates 85% of his Berkshire Hathaway shares to charity, the majority going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

He also started the Giving Pledge in 2010 with Bill and Melinda Gates, encouraging billionaires to donate their wealth to philanthropies. And he plans to give away his remaining wealth over the next few years.

George Soros

George Soros, the Hungarian-born American financier and author, has given away more than $32 billion of his fortune to support the Open Society Foundation’s global mission. The Foundations support individuals and organizations across the globe working for freedom of expression, accountable government, and societies that promote justice and equality.

He is also a major political donor, spending billions on campaigns and thinks tanks that advance his left-of-centre agenda. He has been vilified in some quarters and revered in others for supporting progressive causes like immigration reform.