How the Chronicle compiled its list of the top 50 donors of 2021

Ja 22nd Annual Philanthropy 50, the Chronicle of philanthropyThe list of America’s largest donors is based on donations and pledges of money, stocks, land, and real estate to nonprofit organizations in 2021.

the the Chronicle spoke to dozens of nonprofits, philanthropists and their representatives to learn about the major gifts that were made public last year, as well as the philanthropy of major donors who gave quietly. However, not all philanthropists publicly disclose the details of their donations, nor are they legally required to do so.

Gifts to donor family foundations and donor-directed funds were counted; however, disbursements from these grantmaking vehicles have not been included in our ranking to avoid double counting.

Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates gave their foundation $15 billion last year to take the top spot in the Chronic 22nd annual ranking of America’s top donors. Read more:

the the Chronicle only counts donations that donors make to organizations that have charitable or foundation status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Missing donors

MacKenzie Scott and tech mogul Elon Musk are among the notable absentees from the Philanthropy 50 list. in the Philanthropy 50, they and their representatives refused to provide information to the the Chronicle on the amount of money they invested in their donation vehicles in 2021.

Scott gave at least $2.8 billion to charities last year, likely through three donor-driven funds housed at the Chicago Community Trust, Fidelity Charitable and the National Philanthropic Trust, which the magazine said online Puck, belong to him.

Multi-year gifts

Some of America’s biggest donors don’t appear in the current Philanthropy 50, even though they made a large donation to a nonprofit last year. It is because the The Chronicle’s Rankings only count multi-year commitments once, as a lump sum in the year the commitment was made.

For example, Warren Buffett is missing from this year’s list even though he gave the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation shares in his investment firm Berkshire Hathaway valued at nearly $3.2 billion in 2021.

The donation was an annual installment toward his 2006 pledge of more than $36 billion in Berkshire stock to the foundation. That same year, he also made multi-billion pledges to the foundations of his late first wife and three children.

Here’s how much Buffett gave to charity last year:

  • Nearly 11.6 million Berkshire Class “B” shares, valued at nearly $3.2 billion, to the Gates Foundation, the final installment of its 2006 pledge.
  • Nearly 1.2 million shares valued at more than $267.6 million to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation – named after his first wife, who died in 2004. To date, he has donated more than $3 billion of the approximately $3.6 billion he has pledged to the fund.
  • More than 810,000 shares (valued at more than $187.3 million) each to the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, which funds agriculture, clean water, and poverty relief programs; the NoVo Foundation, co-founded by Peter Buffett and his wife, Jennifer, which promotes alternative lifestyles, such as local agriculture, food cooperatives and worker-owned businesses; and his daughter Susan Buffett’s Sherwood Foundation, which supports social justice work and early childhood education.

Warren Buffett originally pledged about 17,500,000 shares each of Berkshire Hathaway shares to his three children’s foundations and doubled the initial pledge in 2012. To date, he has given the three foundations nearly $1.9 billion each .

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