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New report: Large charitable donations show a marked increase in 2013

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On January 1, 2014, The Chronicle of Philanthropy released it's annual ranking of the top ten largest charitable donations given during 2013. The Chronicle's annual ranking is based upon 'the 10 biggest publicly announced single gifts, although often more than 10 gifts appear on the list because of ties'.

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan are at the top of the 2013 list, announcing in December that they have given 18 million shares of Facebook stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, with an estimated worth in excess of $990 million. This is the second time that a large contribution to the foundation was made by Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Chan. In 2012, their contribution was 18 million shares, valued then at a-half-a-billion dollars, which ranked No.2 on the Chronicle's 2012 list.

According to the Chronicle, the substantial gift from Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Chan 'sets a new record because it comes from philanthropists under 30; the first time that young donors have made the biggest contribution.' Additionally, fourteen other Americans donated in excess of $100 million, a strong increase in gifts at that level when compared to the eleven people who did so in 2012. The Chronicle's data also shows that 'all gifts of $1 million or more totaled nearly $9.6 billion in 2013, compared with $6.1 billion in 2012, another positive sign for non-profits.' Although the wealthiest did not give as much in 2013 as they did prior to the recession, a recovering economy is a strong factor in 2013's charitable giving increases.

According to the Chronicle, colleges and universities were the main benefactors of the biggest gifts of the year. Twelve of the 15 donations on the list went to higher-education institutions. Ranking No. 2, Philip Knight, a co-founder of Nike, and his wife, Penelope pledged $500 million to Oregon Health and Science University Foundation for cancer research and said 'the university must match the donation within the next two years to receive all of the money.' Ranking No.3, Michael Bloomberg pledged $350 million to the Johns Hopkins University, the money to be used to promote cross-disciplinary studies and financial aid for undergraduate students.

A complete listing of the biggest charitable gifts announced by individuals in 2013, along with the complete Chronicle of Philanthropy report, can be accessed by their link above.

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