Barron's Names the 25 'Best' Givers

With the recession squeezing donors and charities alike, ensuring that your giving really makes a difference is more important than ever, reports. And to inspire others to do just that, the business publication has published a year-end list of the twenty-five "most effective" givers.

Compiled in collaboration with the , a U.S.-based consulting firm that works with high-net-worth individuals, foundations, and corporations to design and implement leveraged philanthropic strategies, the list rates philanthropists from around the world based on such criteria as innovation, quality of alliances, and the extent to which their successful projects can be replicated. At the same time, Barron's and GPG accorded special consideration to philanthropists working to address daunting social challenges and getting results.

The list was topped by eBay alumni and , both of whom focus their efforts on supporting and leveraging the work of social entrepreneurs, and includes the likes of Chris and Jamie Cooper-Hohn (no. 3), whose UK-based works to improve the lives of children living in poverty in developing countries; tech billionaire Thomas Siebel (no. 5), whose , a large-scale prevention program aimed at reducing first-time meth use through public service messaging and community outreach, has achieved remarkable results; (no. 7); (no. 13); (no. 19); Earvin "Magic" Johnson (no. 21), who has become the unofficial spokesman for people living with HIV/AIDS and, through his , has provided free testing to more than 38,000 Americans in sixteen major cities; and David and Cheryl Duffield (no. 25), who have given $70 million to animal-welfare groups, veterinary establishments, and other groups, making them the most generous donors to animal rights.

Alluding to the work of Omidyar and Skoll as well as others on the list, GPG chief operating officer Maggie Neilson said that the best philanthropic strategies have a ripple effect. "A key ingredient here is what we call connectivity," said Neilson. "Does the cause the philanthropist supports have implications for other issues?"

Suzanne McGee. "." Barron's 11/30/2009.