Charitable giving among billionaires decreases in 2020 amid COVID

The report details the top-ten largest publicly announced gifts of the year, which stem from the heads of many major companies including Nike, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter, among others.

FILE PHOTO: Founder, Chairman, CEO and President of Amazon Jeff Bezos speaks during an event about Blue Origin's space exploration plans in Washington (photo credit: REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Founder, Chairman, CEO and President of Amazon Jeff Bezos speaks during an event about Blue Origin's space exploration plans in Washington
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Charitable giving among billionaires has decreased amid 2020, a year shrouded by the coronavirus pandemic, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
The report details the top-ten largest publicly announced gifts of the year, which stem from the heads of many major companies including Nike, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter, among others.
The Chronicle estimates that donations totaled over $12.2 billion this year, more than a 50% increase compared to the year before when donations stood at $6.02 billion in total. However, the increase is misrepresented, considering $10 billion of the year's total donations came from one individual.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos gifted the largest contribution of the year when he committed $10 billion to fund scientists, activists, nonprofits and other groups fighting to protect the environment and counter the effects of climate change through a charity sharing his namesake, the Bezos Earth Fund. Bezos has so far supported at least 16 environmental groups with donations totaling $790 million since the foundation's inception, according to Forbes, and has forwarded an additional $100 million to food banks around the United States.
Without Bezos' donation, the top ten gifts only totaled $2 billion this year, about a third of what what was given in 2019, interestingly enough during a time when many needed it the most.
There were, however, a number of large donations given, giving support to organizations whose resources have been stretched thin amid the pandemic.
Co-founder of Nike Phil Knight, donated $900.7 million to his Knight Foundation, in addition to his family's usual donation to the University of Oregon, where Knight went to school, which this year totaled $300 million, the Chronicle reported. The Knight Foundation typically supports scientific research
Other notable benefactors included Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who donated hundreds of millions to ensure voters and elections judges could vote safely last November, and Charles Schwab, who donated close to $70 million to support food banks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
There were also some honorable mentions, who were left out because the individual donations were not large enough to make the list, although put together would stand as two of the larger charitable donations.
Co-founder of Twitter Jack Dorsey donated $300 million to around 120 non-profits, to forward whatever causes they each helm. Dorsey has also funded COVID testing sites in large urban areas as well as rural townships throughout the US, donated large sums of money to support various charities that help those in need amid the health crisis and has gifted to organizations working towards racial justice, among others.
Novelist Mackenzie Scott, Jeff Bezos' ex-wife, gave $4 billion this year to hundreds of charities to support their various causes.


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