With the season of giving upon us, Wealth-X has released its list of the 10 biggest single charitable donations of 2014, highlighting this year’s biggest givers to not-for-profit organizations and philanthropy.
The Wealth-X and Arton Capital Philanthropy Report 2014 showcases the full spectrum of ultra-high net-worth (UHNW) philanthropy, highlighting the many different forms of philanthropic activities, and identifying trends in UHNW giving and the traits of UHNW philanthropists. Charitable support is broadly defined to include gifts, grants and contributions.
When one gives from a generosity of self-expression of spirit, a result when people feel strongly about an organization’s mission or feel a deep sense of connection, often driven by a sense of gratitude for a personal experience, or that of a child or a grandchild, when someone gives because they want to, not because they feel like they have to. This is philanthropy.
#10 Charles T. Munger
Charles Thomas Munger is often considered Warren Buffet’s partner since he is the Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Corporation, but he was an investor in his own right before joining Berkshire. He is also the chairman of Wesco Financial Corporation, which controls Precision Steel Corporation and CORT Furniture leasing. A former attorney who earned his Juris Doctor in 1948, he then began managing investments and never practiced law.
Although he never attended Stanford Law School, his spouse did, he made a considerable contribution to restore the Green Library after an earthquake. His contribution amount was $43.5 million.
Berkshire Hathaway vice-chairman and billionaire Charles Munger is giving $65 million to support the growth of the theoretical physics department of University of California Santa Barbara.
Munger’s net worth in 2014 was US$1.1 billion, and his US$65 million donation to University of California Santa Barbara in 2014 amounted to about 6% of his net worth, according to Wealth-X.
“This residence is going to be hugely helpful to UCSB. This building will be about as good as it can get and offer as good an experience as a physicist can have — and I don’t think you could have a better place on earth to do it,” Munger said, as reported inside Forbes. “Physicists gain enormously from knowing one another and talking to one another and trusting one another. That’s been recognized for a great many decades, but for a long time it just wasn’t feasible. Now we can get people together from all over the world and these people can cross-fertilize each other.”
The donation, announced Friday, will help construct a visitor-housing building at the university’s Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, where a professor won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month.
Munger’s gift is the largest individual donation in the university’s history.
“The good Lord gave me my money, and how could I withhold it from the University of Chicago?” — Address to the first graduating class, John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (1839-1937), American capitalist and philanthropist
#9 Edward H. Meyer
Edward H. Meyer has served as one of our directors since our inception in 2007. Since 2007, Mr. Meyer has served as Chief Executive Officer of Ocean Road Advisors, Inc., an investment management firm. From 1970 to 2006, Mr. Meyer was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Grey Global Group, one of the leading global advertising and marketing agencies.
Prior to becoming Chairman, he was President of Grey from 1968 to 1970. He began his career at Bloomingdale’s. Mr. Meyer currently serves on the Board of Directors of Harman International Industries, Inc. (NYSE: HAR), National Cinemedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: NCMI) and The Jim Pattison Group. Mr. Meyer previously served on the Board of Directors of May Department Stores for 17 years. He also served as a director of Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. from 1991 to 2010.
Mr. Meyer serves as a Trustee of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the New York University Langone Medical Center and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and as President of the Edward & Sandra Meyer Foundation, Inc. Mr. Meyer received a B.A. in Economics from Cornell University.
Meyer’s net worth in 2014 was US$740 million, and his US$75 million donation to Weill Cornell Medical College in 2014 amounted to about 9% of his net worth, according to findings of Wealth-X.
#8 Jay Jordan
Jay Jordan co-founded TJC in 1982. He is the Co-CEO and Managing Partner of the Firm and Chairman of the Management Committee. Prior to founding TJC, he spent nine years with Carl Marks & Co., Inc., a middle-market merchant bank. He has served on the board of directors of several TJC portfolio companies, currently including Gulfstream Services, Inc., Heritage Food Service Group, Inc., Milestone Aviation Group Limited, Sensus and Worldwide Clinical Trials, Inc.
Mr. Jordan is a Trustee of the University of Notre Dame and serves as Chairman of its Investment and Finance Committee. He also serves on the boards of the Lyric Opera and Art Institute of Chicago, as well as many other community boards. Mr. Jordan holds an A.B. degree in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and he attended Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business.
Jordan’s net worth in 2014 was US$290 million, and his US$75 million donation to University of Notre Dame in 2014 amounted to about 21% of his net worth, the Wealth-X study finds.
#7 John Morgridge
John Morgridge, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, who holds a MBA from Stanford, began his career at Honeywell before becoming Cisco’s president and chief executive in 1988.
During the technology bubble of the early 90s, Morgridge took Cisco public, increasing sales from US$5 million to more than US$1 billion in 6 years. With the world’s largest technology market capitalization at Cisco’s peak at US$555 billion in 2000, the firm’s valuations dramatically collapsed to US$70 billion when the technology bubble burst in 2002. In 2012 Cisco’s stock continued to slide falling 38 percent, according to Forbes, before the company’s stock recovered in 2014, as the retired Cisco chairman rests the bulk of his current US$1.2 billion net worth in Cisco shares.
The retired Cisco chief and his spouse donated US$100 million to the University of Wisconsin Madison, as part of an overall pledge of a planned giving to the institution in the range of US$175 million.
Morgridge’s net worth in 2014 was US$1.5 billion, and his US$100 million donation to University of Wisconsin Madison in 2014 amounted to about 6% of his net worth, the Wealth-X study finds.
#6 Gert Boyle
Longtime Columbia Sportswear mogul, Gert Boyle, chairperson of the Oregon-based international outdoor apparel, footwear and equipment manufacturer, gave a US$100 million gift to the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU).
Boyle’s net worth in 2014 was US$500 million, and her US$100 million donation to OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute in 2014 amounted to about 16% of her net worth, according to the Wealth-X study.
“I went to my accountant and he told me how much I was worth and I said, ‘I need to give some of it away,'” she told KGW, in her blunt style.
The gift will go toward the Knight Cancer Challenge. Nike Founder Phil Knight and his wife said they would match US$500 million if that much could be raised by February 2016.
[Read more here: October 17, 2013, “Who Gives? Phil Knight’s huge OHSU grant shocks philanthropy world,” Portland Tribune].
Boyle’s donation makes that much more likely to happen with only about US$70 million in matching donations remaining still be raised by OHSU.
Boyle shared a conversation she had with Phil Knight after making her donation. She said she told him, “I just want you to know the little old lady down the block also gives money.”
This shows that influential lead donors matter most in the success of major gift campaigns and planned giving to charitable benefactors and philanthropic not-for-profit organizations.
And, “the whole philanthropic world is watching,” reports the Portland Tribune.
“This is exciting for philanthropy,” speaking to the Portland Tribune back in October 2013, I am “among those convinced that there is a lot more money out there that nonprofits could get, if only they were daring enough to ask for it. And that holds especially true for scientific research.”
“More than one-third of charitable giving in this country goes to religious institutions. Education got 13 percent, human services another 13 percent, and health-related institutions only 9 percent. If OHSU successfully meets the Phil Knight Cancer Challenge match and gains US$1 billion, I think it could change the landscape of philanthropy worldwide.”
#5 Kenneth Griffin
Kenneth Griffin, a Harvard graduate, amassed his wealth running a US$24 billion asset hedge fund called Citadel, based out of Chicago. As of 2014, he has an estimated net worth of US$5.3 billion. With an estimated US$14 billion in assets under management, Citadel remains one of the world’s largest hedge funds.
Griffin donated in 2014 US$150 million of his hedge fund fortune to Harvard. Griffin’s substantial fortune includes Florida and Hawaii real estate as well as a Chicago penthouse.
Griffin started trading stock options from his dorm room back in the 1980s, using US$265,000 in seed money financing from his friends and family, according to Forbes and the Boston Globe, donated at least US$125 million to support financial aid for Harvard College undergraduates in 2014. The total of US$150 million is the largest donation in Harvard College’s history, which includes an additional US$15 million for special Harvard College undergraduate initiatives and US$10 million endowed for a professorship inside the Harvard Business School.
Griffin’s net worth in 2014 was US$5.5 billion, and his US$150 million donation to Harvard University in 2014 amounted to about 3% of his net worth, the Wealth-X analysis reveals.
#3 Ronnie Chan and #4 Gerald Chan
Photo Credit: Ronnie Chan
Photo Credit: Gerald Chan
Ronnie Chan is the Chairman of Hang Lung Group Limited and its subsidiary Hang Lung Properties Limited. Brothers Ronnie and Gerald Chan co-founded the Morningside group. In the past two decades, Morningside and its associates owned and managed companies focusing on manufacturing, public transport operations, outdoor advertising, media, healthcare, online game operators, high tech and biotech investments in mainland China, developmental capital investments in Southeast Asia, manufacturing and distribution in Europe, and service industries, biotech and other venture capital investments in North America.
According to Forbes, the Chan brother’s combined net worth is over US$3 billion. “Worries over the outlook for China’s commercial real estate market helped weigh down shares of Ronnie and Gerald Chan’s Hong Kong traded flagship, Hang Lung Group, last year. Jones Lang LaSalle predicted that Shanghai’s Grade A office supply will increase by more than half in central business areas by 2017, putting pressure on rents. But the two brothers have reaped a good return on their stake in hot Chinese smartphone-maker Xiaomi.”
“Over the course of 18 months — and without calling attention to himself — billionaire businessman Gerald L. Chan spent about US$120 million to amass an impressive portfolio of Harvard Square real estate that includes nearly a dozen properties. Together, they give Chan — a Harvard University graduate and Newton resident — enough clout to influence the square’s look and character for years to come,” reports the Boston Globe.
“Take Harvard University out of the equation, and I don’t know of anyone who owns more real estate in Harvard Square than he does,” said Peter Bekarian, executive vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle, a commercial real estate firm in Boston.
Harvard’s US$32 billion endowment is about 50 percent larger than Yale’s. Official endowment figures of these top Ivy League institutions are pale compare to their independent sources of wealth outside their endowments. For instance, Harvard’s real-estate assets are “mind-bogglingly valuable” to the capital reserve sustainability and financial growth of the university.
Ronnie and Gerald Chan’s combined net worth in 2014 was US$2.8 billion. The Chan Brother’s US$350 million donation to Harvard University in 2014 amounted to about 22% of their combined net worth, according to Wealth-X.
#2 Nicholas Woodman
Nicholas Woodman is an American businessman out of Santa Clara County, California, who is founder and CEO of GoPro, a popular wearable video-camera company, which offers for sports enthusiasts an affordable wearable belt that attaches a compact remote-controlled digital camera that supports online software to our bodies in the range of US$200 to US$400. In December 2012, the Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn purchased 8.88% of the company for US$200 million which set the market value of the company at US$2.25 billion making Woodman, who owned the majority of the stock, a billionaire.
Woodman’s net worth in 2014 was US$4.4 billion. Woodman’s and his spouse’s US$497.5 million donation to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, amounted to about 10% of his overall 2014 net worth, the Wealth-X report shows.
#1 Warren Buffet
Berkshire Hathaway chairman and billionaire investor, Warren Buffet made the largest donation of 2014, giving US$2.1 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the form of 16.6 million shares of his company, Berkshire Hathaway. The Berkshire Hathaway chairman raked in US$13.5 billion in gains in 2014, a 23% increase from his US$59.1 billion net worth in 2013, to push his current fortune to US$72.6 billion in 2014. Buffet’s donation to the Gates Foundation amounted to about 3% of his overall 2014 net worth, the Wealth-X curated research findings brings to light.
*Note that donated amounts determined by the Wealth-X and Arton Capital Philanthropy Report 2014 study only take into account donations that have already been made, and do not include pledged amounts.
Broadly speaking, ultra-high net-worth individuals as philanthropists employ a private foundation, which is a charitable entity established by an individual donor for the sole purpose of leveraging the use charitable dollars. The foundation’s charter generally reflects the goals and mission of its individual, who is the foundation’s founder.
Private foundations are established by ultra-affluent donors to engage in what is called “venture philanthropy” that involves “secular pursuits” of less conventional charitable purposes in contrast to those normally receiving gifts as public charitable organizations.
Billionaires and millionaires are also interested in stakeholder management issues across global communities, involving what is termed as “secular” investments, involving rising standards of living, urbanization, and population growth, and their impact on heightened protein consumption, not only in developed countries, but especially in under-developed countries and emerging economies across Asia, writes Simon Smiles, Chief Investment Officer of UBS Wealth Management.
According to Wealth-X, the world’s leading ultra-high net worth intelligence, and prospecting firm of curated research on ultra-wealthy individuals, having net assets of US$30 million and above, “eight of the top 10 donations of 2014 were made by American philanthropists. Hong Kong real estate tycoons Ronnie and Gerald Chan are the only non-Americans to appear on the list. The billionaire brothers collectively gave a US$350 million gift to Harvard University, the largest ever in the school’s history.”
“Harvard also received a US$150 million donation from hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin to support financial aid. Six of the top 10 donations of 2014 were made to educational institutions, two were given to health causes, and two went to philanthropic foundations,” Wealth-X reports.
The best philanthropy is a search for cause, an attempt to cure evils at their source.” — Quoted in “Time”, John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (1839-1937), American capitalist and philanthropist
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