Amount donated in 2011: $101-million
Biggest beneficiary: Laura and John Arnold Foundation
Donors’ background: Mr. Arnold founded the hedge fund Centaurus Energy, in Houston. Ms. Arnold is a former corporate lawyer and a businesswoman.
Mr. Arnold, 37, and his wife, Laura, 38, gave $84-million to their Laura and John Arnold Foundation, in Houston. Through the foundation, the Arnolds support nonprofits and programs working to improve the criminal-justice, K-12 public-education, and pension systems.
The couple started the foundation in 2008 and, including their most recent gift, has donated more than $700-million to the fund. The foundation awarded $40-million in grants last year, including about $5-million to Yes Prep Public Schools, in Houston; $500,000 to the KIPP Foundation, a charter-schools group with headquarters in San Francisco; and $200,000 to the Innocence Project, a public-policy organization in New York that works to free people who have been wrongfully imprisoned.
In addition, the Arnolds gave a total of $17-million to other charitable organizations last year—but, through a spokeswoman, declined to provide the names or types of those groups.
—Maria Di Mento