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2020's Biggest Charitable Donations

This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Niall McCarthy

Despite massively growing their fortunes, the amount billionaires donated to charitable causes remained at historic lows in 2020 according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual ranking of the top charitable contributions from individuals and their foundations. There was one exception, however, and that was the staggering $10 billion Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos put into launching the Bezos Earth Fund which is intended to support nonprofits fighting climate change. That amounted to 10 percent of his fortune at the time but it pales in comparison to the growth of his wealth between March and December 2020, which climbed $70 billion. The sum of the second through tenth largest contributions added up to $2.6 billion, the lowest level seen since 2011.

The list was notable for the absence of several key billionaires, particularly Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk who became the world's wealthiest man yesterday, with the Chronicle stating that he donated $0 to charity. Bill Gates was also absent despite the $20 billion he added to his fortune between March and December. Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife Penny took second and third place on the list after Bezos due to separate $250 million and $100 million donations to the Center for Tech and Civic Life. Two key names do not appear on the top-10 list as none of their individual donations were large enough to qualify. They are McKenzie Scott, Bezos' ex-wife and Twitter boss Jack Dorsey who gave more than $4 billion and $300 million to good causes, respectively.

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