Some of the world’s richest people continued to give away chunks of their fortunes to charitable causes in 2019. Two of the world’s billionaires donated more than $1 billion dollars each, according to a Forbes report. Azim Premji, the Indian tech titan, made the year’s largest donation.
Premji pledged a $7.6 billion stake in his IT outsourcing company Wipro to his education-focused charitable organisation--The Azim Premji Foundation--this year, the report said. Some institutions, such as the California Institute of Technology, received the largest financial gifts ever,
said. the report Biggest philanthropic donations and pledges of 2019:
1. Azim Premji a $7.6 billion stake in his IT outsourcing company Wipro to his charitable organization The Azim Premji Foundation. In 1966, Premji took over his father’s cooking oil business and steered it into a software business. Revenue of the company stood at $8.5 billion in 2019.
2. Ace investor Warren Buffett made his largest gift ever of $3.6 billion worth of stock in Berkshire Hathaway in July 2019. His contribution went to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation and to foundations run by his three children: the Sherwood Foundation, the Howard G Buffett Foundation and the NoVo Foundation. According to Forbes, Buffett’s lifetime contribution to charitable activities is more than $38 billion.
3. Nut and fruit billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick pledged $750 million in September to the California Institute of Technology to fund climate change research. The Resnicks, worth an estimated $9 billion, own Wonderful Co which produces almonds and pistachios. The company owns brands like POM Wonderful, Fiji Water and Halo mandarin oranges.
4. American billionaire T Denny Sanford donated $350 million to National University in San Diego. Sanford had already donated $150 million to the university. Founded in 1971, the private, nonprofit national university caters to adult learners, providing specialised education to suit students who are raising families, working or are veterans. Sanford has given away close to $2 billion in his lifetime.
5. American entrepreneurs Phillip “Terry” Ragon and Susan Ragon pledged $200 million donation to Massachusetts General Hospital to fund a vaccine-research center. Ragon built his $2.6 billion fortune through software company InterSystems.
6. Stephen Schwarzman, cofounder of private equity firm Blackstone, donated $188 million to the Oxford University. It is the largest single donation it has received since the Renaissance, Forbes report said. Schwarzman, worth $19.1 billion, pledged $350 million in October 2018 to MIT for building a new computing college.
7. The family of late American billionaire Jon M Huntsman pledged $150 million to fund mental health research and services for students at University of Utah and for rural Utah residents. The committed amount will be paid out over 15 years.
8. Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss donated $131 million to Harvard in June 2019 to support the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard. This institute was set up in 2009 after he donated $125 million to start the program. Wyss announced in October 2018 that he planned to donate $1 billion over a decade to accelerate land and ocean conservation, according to the report. Wyss is the founder of medical device manufacturing company Synthes in 1963 and sold it to Johnson & Johnson for $20.2 billion. His wealth is estimated at $6.3 billion.
9. Hedge fund Citadel founder Kenneth Griffin donated $125 million to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. This is the largest donation the museum has received ever since opening in 1933. The museum will be renamed to Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry.
10. American banker, financier and philanthropist Sandy and Joan Weill announced a pledge of $109 million in November to launch a research initiative at UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley and the University of Washington on treatments for brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, the report said.Henry Samueli, Eli Broad, Ray Dalio, Orlando Bravo, and Jeff Bezos were among the other billionaires who pledged about $100 each for various charitable purposes.