Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Pricilla Chan, were the top American donors of 2013, giving close to $1 billion to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a non-profit helping companies and individuals donate their time and money to Northern California charities.
The Zuckerberg’s charitable gifts were a huge part of the $7.7 billion dollars given away from the top 50 American donors, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual Philanthropy 50 list. The amount of American donations rose $300 million from 2012’s $7.4 billion given.
It’s unknown how the Silicon Valley CF will use the funds, but it’s well known that Zuckerberg and Chan are strong supporters of health and education programs. In 2010 Zuckerberg gave $100 million worth of Facebook stock to the Newark, NJ, public school system, before the company went public. Zuckerberg also donated 18 million Facebook shares to Silicon Valley CF in 2012, which are currently valued at more than $1 billion, making the total value of his two donations to the foundation more than $2 billion.
The second largest gift was from the late George Mitchell, a Texas energy tycoon who donated $750 million to his family foundation supporting conservation and sustainability. The foundation works to ensure that fracking will not cause any long-lasting devastation to the environment.
America’s third largest donation came from Philip Knight, cofounder of Nike, and his wife, Penelope, who gave $500 million toward cancer research to the Oregon Health & Science University Foundation. However, there is a catch: the organization must match the donation in the next two years or lose it. This is the fourth time the Knights have made the Philanthropy 50 list.
A few of America’s most well-known altruists, like Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates were absent on this list due to the Chronicle’s methodology. They do not count pledges made in previous years, even if the money was given out in 2013. Both Buffet and the Gates fall into that category. Combined, they gave away more than $1 billion last year.