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Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg biggest giver in 2013

SEATTLE (AP) - Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, were the most generous American philanthropists in 2013, with a donation of 18 million shares of Facebook stock, valued at more than $970 million, to a Silicon Valley nonprofit in December.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported Monday that Zuckerberg's donation was the largest charitable gift on the public record in 2013 and put the young couple at the top of the magazine's annual list of 50 most generous Americans in 2013.

The top 50 contributors made donations last year totaling $7.7 billion, plus pledges of $2.9 billion.

The Chronicle's editor says the most significant fact from the list was the amount of money coming from living donors, which totaled about the same amount as the two previous years combined.

"It's a sure sign that the economy is getting better and people are getting a lot less cautious," said Stacy Palmer, Chronicle editor.

Some of the nation's biggest givers do not appear on the 2013 list, not because they stopped being generous, but because their donations in 2013 were counted as pledges in previous years.

For example, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, gave their foundation slightly more than $181.3 million last year, but they were paying off a pledge of about $3.3 billion they made in 2004. CNN-founder Ted Turner and Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett also made large gifts toward previous pledges.

It took gifts totaling at least $37.5 million to make the list this year. Forty-two of the top 50 made gifts of $50 million or more.

Thirty made big gifts to colleges and universities, but Palmer noted most college gifts went to science and research this year, not to buildings, as in previous years.

Ten of the 50 made the list because of bequests after their deaths, including the second biggest giver in 2013, George Mitchell, a Galveston, Texas, man who made his fortune in energy and real estate.

At No. 3 were Nike chairman Philip Knight and his wife, Penelope, of Portland, Ore., who made a $500 million challenge grant to Oregon Health & Science University Foundation for cancer research. The Knight pledge requires the university match it within the next two years.

No. 4 was philanthropist and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who made gifts totaling $452 million in 2013 to arts, education, environment, public health and other causes.

Nineteen people or couples on the list have signed the Giving Pledge, started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in 2010. More than 120 of the world's wealthiest individuals and families have pledged to give at least half their wealth to charity since the movement began.

Although most people on the list were prominent wealthy people who have given generously in the past, Palmer said a few were surprises, including Jack MacDonald, a Seattle lawyer, who gave $139 million to three nonprofits upon his death.

Zuckerberg, Wife Named Most Charitable U.S. Donors Of 2013

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rtgarton February 10 2014 at 11:30 AM

I think a lot of people would do the same thing. I would assume it is pretty much the team of tax lawyers who tell them what they should be shelling out. People who have very little and give a lot now that is a real story.

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chassih February 10 2014 at 9:30 AM

Have just read comments & am appalled. Expected to see people commending the people for their charitable donations. Instead see mostly criticism & complaints. Shame on those critics!

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1 reply
cypicturelady chassih February 10 2014 at 9:42 AM

I agree, it surprised me as well. However, they do make some good points. People would be more supportive if the general economy was working for the other 90% of us. But it isn't, and many no doubt feel like this is money that came out of their pockets in the sense that low wages and lack of opportunity has made life difficult for most of us. If people could get paid a decent wage so they could actually care for their families, provide a good home and health care, etc. , they wouldn't begrudge the rich so much. The whole system is jiggered against us though, and favors these wealthy few. THAT is why people are mad.

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Sandy Paz February 10 2014 at 1:10 PM

Mother Teresa suggested "Give, give until it hurts..."

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harbourtrading February 10 2014 at 9:22 AM

I think the editor needs to wake up .. as " it is a clear sign the economy is getting better" , it is more like the gap between the poor and the rich is getting wider. More middle class familys are struggling approaching the lower income class and the rich are getting richer based on having the ability to buy and pay for what is needed to sustain their life styles. Some were established from old money and the other like Fbook owner has so much money he simply cant afford to keep it, so now in a PR efforst his top of the list donation puts him on the map for most generous

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2 replies
mcatanese harbourtrading February 10 2014 at 9:46 AM

And what did he do wrong for donating that money. Why is there always a "but" in there?

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savannahswithgod harbourtrading February 10 2014 at 9:56 AM

Any editor or anybody else including our lying ass media and gov thinking an Economy built on Greed can even survive is in for some drastic comings!

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Sandra L-C February 10 2014 at 4:36 PM

That's true generosity. I'm curious about which non-profit organization got that much money, especially given to a "Silicon Valley non-profit"?

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billy February 10 2014 at 1:45 PM

did I get who gives a cht

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notorious6 February 10 2014 at 2:53 PM

It is always refreshing to read about a winner.

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mlfertig February 10 2014 at 8:52 AM

It is great to see more and more substantial charitable donations by people like MZ.
What is also interesting is how much of a sub industry the specialized businesses that service big charity has become.
The non profit MZ made his donation to is Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
They offer "Customized Philanthropy Services"
Providing "a full range of consulting services to individuals, corporations, private foundations and nonprofit organizations. Find out how you can benefit from our expertise in grantmaking, nonprofit accounting, investment management, donor engagement and more."
This is forthe uber wealthy who want to give big but have no desire to be involved in the huge task of managing these funds. Sounds like a win win situatin to me if it gets more $$ out of a private account an into the acounts of many charities around the wolrd

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lacabrera February 10 2014 at 9:49 AM

only about 20% of the money donated goes to it's intended purpose ,the rest who knows ?

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Charles February 10 2014 at 8:42 AM

I am thankful that all these wealthy people have personally chosen to help others. You will never satisfy the "critics" of this world. Warren Buffett and his sister , Doris, have made untold donations to the disabled and abused through the Doris Buffett "Sunshine Lady Foundation". So much of their chaity is behind the scenes and not out for public praise. Thanks to all these charitable citizens.

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1 reply
Sally Thayer Charles February 10 2014 at 9:31 AM

Bravo - thank you for recognizing the truly generous gifts of many of the wealthy. The organizations that provide services also provide jobs, which then benefits society and brings in tax money. I am a Democrat but will never find fault with people who have worked hard to achieve success and are so unbelieveably generous to the poor worldwide. Plus, so many of them support my deepest concerns: our environment, mental health and kindness to animals. The people complaining are most likely the same people who cheat on their taxes.

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