Are the biggest donors of 2009 “Great Givers” or are they merely wealthy and generous?
Patty Stonesifer, the former chief executive of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, asks this question about The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of the people who gave the most money last year.
In an article in Slate, she says that more wealthy Americans are learning to be Great Givers, which she defines as giving big, giving now, and giving for “great social impact.”
“I’ve learned how to separate the wheat from the chaff, and I see more philanthropists striving to be Great Givers,” she writes, pointing to Stanley and Fiona Druckenmiller, who topped this year’s list, as an example of good philanthropists.
Other blog writers examined the list differently.
The Gothamist, a blog about New York, looked at the giving of the city’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who is No. 4 on the donor list. The blog points out that “donations weren’t Bloomberg’s only big expenditure in 2009 — he also shelled out more than $100-million on his re-election campaign.”
The Fundermentalist, a Jewish philanthropy blog, noted that Mr. Bloomberg was among 11 likely Jewish people who made the list of the 50 biggest givers. (Jacob Berkman, the blog’s writer, is not 100 percent sure of the religious affliation of all of them.)
Last year, the Fundermentalist said 16 Jewish philanthropists were on the list.
The pressence of minorities also has been looked at by the Asian American Giving blog. In 2009, the blog wondered why no Asian-Americans appeared on the list and what that meant for racial divides in society.
This year, things have changed. The 15th biggest donor is Patrick Soon-Shiong and his wife, Michelle B. Chan, who gave $65-million for health programs.
What do you think of the biggest donors? Click on the comment button below to share your views.