News and analysis
February 06, 2012

No. 37 (tied): Sheldon and Miriam Adelson

Courtesy of Yad Vashem

Amount donated in 2011: $35-million

Biggest beneficiary: Yad Vashem the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority

Other key beneficiary: Birthright Israel Foundation

Donors’ background: Mr. Adelson is the developer of the Venetian Las Vegas, a hotel, and chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, a developer of resorts. Dr. Adelson is a physician who specializes in drug abuse and addiction.

The couple pledged $25-million to Yad Vashem the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority for educational seminars and teacher-training programs at its International School for Holocaust Studies. They previously donated $25-million to the organization, in 2006.

The Adelsons pledged $10-million to the Birthright Israel Foundation to provide free, 10-day educational trips to Israel for young Jewish adults up to age 26.

Mr. Adelson said of his giving to Birthright: “My parents always wanted to go to Israel but never made it. I made a promise that I would do everything I could to help any young person who wanted to visit Israel through the Birthright Israel program be able to do so. The couple has attracted controversy for donating money to Republican presidential primary candidate New Gingrich’s super PAC. Mr. and Ms. Adelson have given $5-million apiece.

—Caroline Bermudez


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View more profiles of donors who gave the most in 2011.