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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

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
Sandy Paz February 10 2014 at 1:10 PM

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

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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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DAVID February 10 2014 at 11:43 AM

yeah, i make 181 million i can be a little less cautious.

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1 reply
schlauger1 DAVID February 10 2014 at 12:07 PM

David: I will be your chauffeur/body guard for $245,000 a year. Get ahold of me. I'm reliable and only drink and ***** when off the clock.

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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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schlauger1 February 10 2014 at 12:02 PM

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

It's a sure sign that when times get tough for the large majority of people in this country, the billionaires freak, thinking they will lose a twentieth of their vast fortunes. True, some are consistent givers, a lot pull their money to their chest and guard it like Scrooge guarded his safe. Yes, I know that some don't advertise their largesse.

Zuckerberg: Good for you, young man. I haven't accessed my Facebook in months, but I get the idea, and I'm glad people enjoy it. You're a young pioneer with genius and an apparently big heart. You live fairly simple, and have no pretensions. Your drab wardrobe could use some of your sweetie's input, though.

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drnshar February 10 2014 at 10:41 AM

Well done Mark.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
signatiusm February 10 2014 at 8:36 AM

It is an awesome thing for the rich to give so much to so many needy causes but...
I really must agree with basebalwfl and his comment on real sacrifice. Please, rich, keep giving, but could you really consider a gift that is more than spare change? What you give is great but the needs are greater still.
God bless you and make you prosper even more...then give that away to real needs.

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1 reply
ilenedan2 signatiusm February 10 2014 at 8:50 AM

Since a number of the wealthiest people in the US have pledged to give between 90% and 99% of their wealth (The Gates, Warren Buffet, etc.) to charity before they die and are well on their way to doing so, I don't consider that spare change. Further, if you follow the news, then you know that through the Gates foundation, they have managed to eradicate many diseases in the third world through vaccination and that as a result, survival rates there continue to climb significantly despite the ravages of AIDS and lack of adequate food and shelter at times. That does not even touch on the number of children in the US who have benefitted educationally due to these foundations. It is a telling statement that a couple of very wealthy Americans could do what a number of large governments could not. Amazing what can be done when you eliminate graft and direct resources where they are needed.

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Jeff February 10 2014 at 8:40 AM

Given to a silicon valley non-profit.....mmmmm I wonder who

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1 reply
savannahswithgod Jeff February 10 2014 at 10:09 AM

Probably lined up with something in China, young ones you know for our great Biz people to travel over there and enjoy that youth.

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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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John February 10 2014 at 11:56 AM

Sometimes just being kind to each other is a charitable act. A smile and a sincere hello might just help someone have a better outlook. Donating or giving money is awesome if 90% isn't going to admin fees of your favorite charity. 'Do your homework before you donate.' Few charities are what they say they are. They may mean well but look for charities where there are more volunteers and less overpaid corporate types taking the lion's share. That's where you really help your fellow man. Leave the political arena out of your circle. They already get plenty from the big boys. Your $50 donation is basically for plate rental at a high roller charity event.

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