Warren Buffett, who donated Berkshire Hathaway shares worth $2.1 billion to the , tops the list of U.S. philanthropists who gave the most in 2014, reports.
With a collective net worth of more than $377 billion, the top ten givers on the Forbes list donated a total of $7.1 billion to charity in 2014. Second on the list behind Buffett were Bill and Melinda Gates, with $1.3 billion in giving, followed by George Soros ($733 million), Michael R. Bloomberg ($462 million), Charles F. Feeney ($434 million), the Walton family ($375 million), James and Marilyn Simons ($331 million), Hansjörg Wyss ($228 million), Gordon and Betty Moore ($220 million), and Eli and Edythe Broad ($202 million). Conducted in partnership with the , a unit of , the analysis of the top fifty donors in the U.S. ranked their giving by dollars paid out and does not include as-yet-unfulfilled pledges or funds set aside for charity. Giving to the donors' own family foundations and/or donor-advised funds also was excluded from the calculation.
While Gates, Buffett, Bloomberg, and Jim Walton are among the ten richest Americans on the list, their cumulative giving to date as a percentage of net worth ranges widely, from 4 percent ($5.3 billion) for the Walton family to 10 percent ($3.7 billion) for Bloomberg, 37 percent ($22.7 billion) for Buffett, and 41 percent ($31.5 billion) for the Gateses. Feeney, who no longer is a billionaire, has donated an estimated $7 billion to charitable causes during his lifetime. Eight of the top ten givers in 2014 — all except the Walton family and George Soros — have signed on to the , committing to give away at least half their wealth to charitable causes.
"We're starting to see a turn where people want to enjoy giving while they're still alive and have a say in it and see the difference," said Philanthropic Research Institute founder R.J. Shook.