Few Wealthy Philanthropists Make Big Gifts to Social Services Even as Needs Grow

While social-service groups have not typically been beneficiaries of big donations, fund raisers at those groups see an opportunity for cultivating huge gifts as hunger and unemployment rates surge.

Nine gifts from individuals on The Chronicle's Philanthropy 50 annual ranking of America's most-generous donors went to groups helping the needy, but none of the donations those people made last year were worth more than $10-million. Among the biggest was a $7.6-million bequest to