Mark Zuckerberg is the most generous man in the US
According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, were the most generous US philanthropists last year. In 2013, the couple donated 18 million Facebook shares to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, amounting to some $992.2 million. The Chronicle of Philanthropy put together a list of the top fifty most generous donors in 2012, ranked according to the size of individual donations.
The list is concerned only with gifts and pledges of cash and stock to non-profit organizations and it might be surprising to find that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is not at the top spot -- in fact, it does not appear in the list at all. This is explained by the publication:
"Some of America’s biggest charitable donors don’t appear on the current Philanthropy 50 even though they were still writing big checks to charity. That’s not because these philanthropists aren’t giving. The Chronicle’s rankings are based on new commitments donors made to their foundations and to other non-profits in 2013 and do not count payments on past pledges of foundation grants".
The explanation of how the list was compiled does include some details of the Gates' generosity. In 2013, the couple donated $181.3 million to their foundation, but this was part of a $3.3 billion pledge made in 2004 -- and it is interesting to note that the Gates' have now donated more than this. All told, the list of the top 50 most generous donors gave more than $7.7 billion to worthy causes.