In the past, wealthy philanthropists have donated large sums of money to various charities and foundations. These days it is becoming increasingly common for the wealthiest philanthropists to begin their own foundations to target specific problems in the world. They want to be more involved and ensure their foundations are doing what they intend for them to do. These venture philanthropists often take a very hands-on approach and contribute more than simply cash.
The Chronical of Philanthropy creates a list of the top philanthropists and lists their many contributions and accomplishments. In 2009, the Chronical named Stanley and Fiona Druckenmiller, John Templeton, Bill and Melinda Gates, Michael Bloomberg, and Louise Dieterle Nippert as the top 5 philanthropists.
Stanley F. and Fiona B. Druckenmiller
New York investment managers Stanley and Fiona Druckenmiller, donated approximately $705 million to the foundation they formed. The Druckenmiller foundation supports medical research, education and the reduction of poverty in the form of grants. This year, a $100 million grant was given to the Langone Medical Center at NYU to start a neuroscience institute. Previous years have seen the foundation donate sizable grants to the New York Stem Cell Foundation, the Harlem Children’s Zone and many other medical related programs. Most of the foundation’s donations go to increase research related to stem cells and their use in neuroscience.
John M. Templeton
John Templeton was an international investor and innovator in the managing of mutual funds. When he died in 2008, $573 million of the inheritance went to the John Templeton Foundation, an organization he founded in 1987. the foundation explores the relationship of science, religion, spirituality and health and how they interact. Other programs support free enterprise and character development in youths and adults. With the addition of the $573 million after his death, the foundation is valued at approximately $1.6 billion and is one of the largest grant givers in existence. Each year the foundation awards more than $70 million to worthwhile causes.
William H. III and Melinda F. Gates
Bill Gates, the co-founder and Chairman of Microsoft and previously the world’s richest man, and hi wife Melinda founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and seeded it with $350 million of personal assets. At the same time, they pledged to donate a total of $3.3 billion, of which they have already donated $2.7 billion. I 2009 alone, the couple donated over $34 million. A new headquarters of the organization is expected to open in in 2011.
Michael R. Bloomberg
New York City Mayor and founder Bloomberg LP, Michael Bloomberg, donated $254 million to several small, nonprofit organizations. One of the his biggest areas of interest is the reduction of traffic accident fatalities and several of his charities focus on this. The remainder support a wide variety of causes from the arts, to public interest, medical and more.
Louise Dieterle Nippert
Louise Dieterle Nippert was married to the now deceased great-grandson of the founder of Proctor and Gamble, James A. Gamble. She donated $158 million of P&G stock to the Greenacres Foundation, founded by Louise and James in 1988. The centerpiece of the foundation is their converted estate, which now serves as a cultural and environmental education center. The 2009 donation of $100 million will be used to fund environmental and children’s programs. An additional $85 million will be used to establish the Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund. This fund will support Cincinnati’s’s symphony, opera, and ballet.