Facebook’s Zuckerberg leads big jump in charity among the wealthy

Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, led a big rise in philanthropy among the wealthy in 2013 as the number of gifts of at least $1 million climbed 57%, according to a report by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The 29-year-old social media billionaire and his physician wife donated 18 million Facebook shares to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

The Chronicle report, released Wednesday, listed the Zuckerberg gift value at $992.2 million, by far the largest single gift of the year.


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“It was a much stronger year for donations among the affluent,” Chronicle editor Stacy Palmer said. “To get on the list of the top 10 for 2013, you had to give a much bigger amount.”

A gift of $60 million was generous enough to make the list in 2012. In 2013, the Chronicle said, there was a six-way tie for the 10th spot with pledges of $100 million each.

There were $9.6 billion in gifts of $1 million or more in 2013, up from $6.1 billion a year ago, the Chronicle said.

Palmer said that the sharp rise in the stock market was a catalyst for the improved generosity, adding “people also feel confident that the economy is getting stronger.”

Nike Inc. Chairman Phil Knight and his wife, Penelope, were second on the list with their $500-million pledge to the Oregon Health & Science University Foundation, for cancer research.

Third was former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who pledged $350 million to Johns Hopkins University.

The list also offered evidence of the nation’s improved housing market: Five of the 15 people on the Chronicle list were either real estate developers or heirs to a real estate fortune.

Rounding out the group of top givers were financier Charles B. Johnson, who pledged $250 million to Yale University; real estate developer Stephen Ross, who pledged $200 million to the University of Michigan; and the late real estate heiress Muriel Block, who made a $160-million bequest to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

Real estate developer John Arrillaga pledged $151 million to Stanford University; Irwin Jacobs, cofounder of Qualcomm Inc., and his wife, Joan, pledged $133 million to Cornell NYC Tech; and Charles Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., pledged $110 million to the University of Michigan.

Tied for 10th with $100-million pledges each were industrialist David Koch to the New York-Presbyterian Hospital; Frank McCourt, the former Los Angeles Dodgers owner and real estate developer, to Georgetown University; investor Ronald Perelman to the Columbia Business School; T. Denny Sanford, chairman of United National Corp., to UC San Diego; Stephen A. Schwarzman, head of Blackstone Group, to Tsinghua University; and real estate heiress Deborah Simon to Mercersburg Academy.


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