Wealthiest Donors in 2012

To no one’s surprise Warren Buffet was 2012 biggest donor, giving $1 billion to each of the foundations run by his children. Outside of Mr. Buffet’s the biggest gifts for that year totaled $2 billion. In 2011 the total was $2.6 billion. By contrast there were more gifts of $1 million or more, totaling $6.1 billion when that figure was $5.4 billion the year before. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook was the biggest donor after Warren Buffet, giving $498.8 million in stock to the Silicon Valley Community foundation. Paul Allen of Microsoft gave $300 million to the Allen Institute for Brain Science and publisher Morton Zuckerman gave $200 million to Columbia’s Mind Brain Behavior Institute. Perhaps I am more biased than I am aware of, but outside of Warren Buffet who has long been a dedicated philanthropist, I am not impressed. With a struggling economy with many still unemployed or underemployed, when those at the top of the economic ladder have prospered much more than the rest of us, it seems those with wealth are giving back some of what the society enabled them to receive. As such I am willing to grant their giving fulfilled a civic duty, maybe one not meriting particular gratitude, but one that is nevertheless important.