Some notable philanthropists
- Tarek Ben Halim ~ Investment Banker and Founder of Alfanar in 2004, the first Venture philanthropy organization with a special focus on the Arab Region.
- Prince Karim Aga Khan IV ~ founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network which focuses on health, education, culture, rural development, institution-building and the promotion of economic development.
- Jane Addams ~ co-founder of the Hull House settlement house in Chicago.
- Christina Aguilera ~ American singer-songwriter and actress known for her work with the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, various charities, causes and a global spokesperson for World Hunger Relief.
- Howard Ahmanson, Jr. ~ multi-millionaire philanthropist and financier of the causes of many conservative Christian cultural, religious and political organizations.
- William Allen – founded and endowed many institutions and causes including ‘Schools of Industry’ at Lindfield and Newington Academy for Girls.
- Michael Bloomberg ~ Donations include over USD$300 million to Johns Hopkins University.
- Bono ~ co-founder of Product Red and of the One Campaign for the abolition of AIDS and poverty in Africa.
- Warren Buffett ~ pledged USD$30.7 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
- Arpad Busson ~ founder of Ark (Absolute Return for Kids) Academy. ARK projects focus on health in sub-Saharan Africa, education in the UK, US and India and child protection in Eastern Europe.
- Nicholas Murray Butler – president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace from 1925 to 1945.
- Andrew Carnegie ~ donated money to build over 2500 libraries worldwide. Founder of the Carnegie Foundations, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Carnegie Mellon University.
- George Clooney ~ known for his humanitarian work in aiding the Darfur conflict, organizing Hope for Haiti Now, his involvement in Not On Our Watch and many other organizations and personal tasks to end oppression and world suffering of many types.
- Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury – chairman of the Ragged Schools Union (during the Victorian era).
- Richard Desmond – President of the Norwood Charity, raised around £14m for charitable causes with the RD Crusaders, helped build the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre part of Moorfields Eye Hospital.
- Walt Disney ~ helped to fund California Institute of the Arts
- Anthony J. Drexel ~ founder of Drexel University
- Maulana Dr. Abdul Sattar Edhi ~ head of the Edhi Foundation in Pakistan.
- Larry Ellison ~ pledged to give more than half the value of his stock in Oracle Corporation to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
- Mohamed Al-Fayed ~ founder of The New School at West Heath.
- Chuck Feeney ~ founder of Atlantic Philanthropies.
- Edsel Ford ~ co-founder of the Ford Foundation.
- Henry Ford ~ co-founder of the Ford Foundation.
- Bill Gates ~ co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
- Melinda Gates ~ co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
- J. Paul Getty ~ funded the construction of the Getty Villa, the original Getty Museum, and donated his art collection to it. Upon his death, left his fortune to the Getty Museum, which eventually expanded to the Getty Center in Los Angeles.
- David Gilmour ~ singer and guitarist of Pink Floyd whom was made CBE for his years of philanthropy and gave $7.5 million from sale of his London home to the homeless charity Crisis
- Edward Harkness ~ Various private colleges and boarding schools; medical facilities; Commonwealth Fund
- Thomas Holloway ~ Victorian patent medicine entrepreneur and founder of Royal Holloway, University of London
- Johns Hopkins ~ founder of the Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Hospital
- Amal Hijazi ~ a Lebanese singer, who is known for her philanthropy
- Howard Hughes ~ Aviator, engineer, industrialist and film producer, donated US$1.56billion to various charities including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
- Yusuf Islam (also known as Cat Stevens) ~ founder of Islamic schools, Muslim Aid and Small Kindness.
- Michael Jackson ~ has donated more than USD$300 million to various foundations, and founded the Heal the World Foundation.
- Angelina Jolie ~ American Actress,who is well known for her humanitarian world wide and who is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency
- Alicia Keys ~ American singer/songwriter and spokeswoman for Keep A Child Alive.
- Imran Khan ~ Founder of the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust which was behind the first cancer research institution in Pakistan.
- H. F. Lenfest ~ donated $5 million in coherence with Chester County to preserve over 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of land in Newlin Township, Chester County, PA. The land is now owned by Natural Lands Trust.
- Julius Curtis Lewis, Jr. ~ Estimated lifetime donations of USD$130 million to various civic, spiritual; charitable organizations. Many in Savannah, Georgia.
- Li Ka-shing ~ founder and chairman of the Li Ka Shing Foundation, which focuses on two major areas: capacity empowerment through education and building of a caring society through medical and healthcare related projects. In 2006, Li pledged to donate one-third of his fortune estimated at over USD$10 billion to charity and philanthropic projects throughout the world.
- Juliette Gordon Low ~ Also known as “Daisy”, founded Girl Scouts of the USA in 1912 in Savannah, GA.
- Catherine T. MacArthur ~ co-founder of the MacArthur Foundation.
- John D. MacArthur ~ co-founder of the MacArthur Foundation.
- Chris Martin ~ lead singer of British alternative rock band Coldplay. He is known for supporting the Make Trade Fair campaign. He and his band also contribute 15% of their money to charity.
- Paul Mellon ~ major benefactor of arts and education, and co-founder of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Ailsa Mellon-Bruce ~ co-founder of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Mary Louise Milliken Childs ~ Builder of the Milliken Memorial Community House, the first privately donated community house in America.
- Kylie Minogue ~ europop/dance singer and performer, actress and fashion designer.
- Sunil Bharti Mittal – Set up Bharti Foundation that runs schools for 30,000 underprivileged children in rural India
- Samuel Morley MP ~ founded Morley College, London and endowed other institutions and causes.
- Jamie and Karen Phelps Moyer ~ founded the Moyer Foundation to assist non-profit organizations in raising money for children with serious distresses.
- Sidney Myer ~ Founder of the Iconic Australian Department store chain Myer.
- Petra Němcová ~ Czech supermodel who is the founder of the Happy Hearts Fund
- Paul Newman ~ Founder of Newman’s Own and the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for seriously ill children, as well as major donations to other charities.
- Alfred Nobel ~ founder of the Nobel Prizes.
- Dolly Parton ~ Legendary country singer is an advocate for children’s education through her foundation, the Imagination Library, which gives books to children on a regular basis to develop their reading skills before starting school.
- Princess Bernice Pauahi ~ left properties to the education of Hawaiian boys and girls in what is now Kamehameha Schools.
- Linus Pauling ~ donated time and effort and spent personal funds to bring about the worldwide ban on above ground nuclear weapons testing.
- Ty Pennington ~ Host of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and avid advocate of doing good towards others in need and to those who give of themselves for the sake of others.
- Raymond and Ruth Perelman ~ Parents of Ronald O. Perelman (below), they donated $225 million to the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, the largest donation in that university’s history, in 2011.
- Ronald O. Perelman ~ Largest Revlon stockholder, has donated over $200 million to various causes since 2001, including a $50 million gift to create the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical Center; signed the Gates-Buffett Pledge, in August 2010, committing up to half his assets to be designated for the benefit of charitable causes (after his family and children have been provided for).
- Dame Shirley Porter ~ Tesco heiress and co-founder of The Porter Foundation, has donated to Tel Aviv University, social welfare facilities and ecological funding, the National Portrait Gallery in London, and others.
- Charles Pratt ~ founder of Pratt Institute.
- Christopher Reeve ~ founder of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
- Werner Reinhart ~ industrialist, philanthropist, music and literature patron
- Donald Rix ~ BC Innovation Council, BC Cancer Agency Foundation, BC Medical Services Foundation, and the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation
- Sir David Robinson ~ founder of the Robinson Charitable Trust, and of Robinson College.
- John D. Rockefeller ~ founder of the Rockefeller Foundation and Rockefeller University.
- John D. Rockefeller Jr. – dramatically expanded the Rockefeller Foundation and Rockefeller University. He also bought and then donated the land in Manhattan upon which the United Nations headquarters was built.
- John D. Rockefeller 3rd ~ major third-generation Rockefeller philanthropist and founder of the Asia Society (1956), the Population Council (1952) and a reconstituted Japan Society, he was chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation for twenty years. He established the Rockefeller Public Service Awards in 1958. Among his many other achievements, he was the driving force behind the construction of the landmark Lincoln Center, built between 1959 and 1966, in New York City.
- J.K. Rowling ~ President of One Parent Families, and advocate for social equity.
- Joseph Rowntree – founder of the four Rowntree trusts.
- Enriqueta Augustina Rylands, foundress of the John Rylands Library
- John Rylands
- Shakira ~ founder of Pies Descalzos Foundation.
- Sir Run Run Shaw ~ founder of the Shaw Prize Foundation.
- Gary Sinise ~ co-founder of Operation Iraqi Children.
- George Soros ~ estimated to have donated more than USD$6 billion, often through the Open Society Institute and Soros Foundations.
- Ellen Gates Starr ~ co-founder of Hull House.
- Levi Strauss ~ Gave to many notable foundations of his time. He also gave to many Jewish synagogues and organizations (he was Jewish himself).
- Belinda Stronach – co-founder of Spread the Net
- Mother Teresa ~ founded the Missionaries of Charity. Her work among the poverty-stricken in Calcutta made her one of the world’s most famous people.
- Cornelius Vanderbilt ~ funded Vanderbilt University.
- William Henry Vanderbilt ~ cofounder of the Metropolitan Opera.
- William Wilberforce ~ English politician, headed successful parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade, and later supported the campaign for complete abolition.
- Oprah Winfrey ~ estimated donations above USD$300 million, and founder of Oprah’s Angel Network.
- Steve Wozniak ~ provided all the money, as well as a good amount of on-site technical support, for the technology program for the Los Gatos School district. Co-founder of Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.)
- Mr. T ~ Famous actor (Starred in 1980’s TV series, ‘The A-Team’ and ‘Rocky III’), Motivational speaker, donated all his gold to charity. Known for catch phrase, ‘ I pity the fool!’
Greatest philanthropists by amount of USD
The following table orders the greatest philanthropists by estimated amount given to charity, corresponding to USD.
|Warren Buffett||$30.7 billion||healthcare, extreme poverty, education, access to information technology|
|Bill Gates||$29 billion||Education, AIDS-prevention|
|Li Ka-shing||$10 billion||Education, healthcare|
|George Soros||$6 billion||Democratic governance, anti-Fascist publications, human rights, economic, legal, and social reform|
|Azim Premji||$2 billion||Education, healthcare|
|Howard Hughes||$1.56 billion||Medical|