Jeff Bezos shot straight to the top of a ranking of America's biggest donors — here's how much tech moguls gave away to good causes in 2018

  • The Chronicle of Philanthropy published its “Philanthropy 50,” ranking of the top donators to good causes in the US.
  • Top among donators was the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos. It was the first time the Amazon CEO has appeared in the list.
  • Other tech moguls including Mark Zuckerberg, Paul Allen, and Sheryl Sandberg featured prominently.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has published its ranking of the top 50 US donators to philanthropic causes in 2018.

Figures from the world of tech featured prominently on the list, with Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos topping the list, clinching the top spot from Bill and Melinda Gates.

Scroll on to see the top donators from the world of tech, ranked in ascending order.


9. Marc and Lynne Benioff

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff caused a stir this year in his avid support for philanthropic efforts in San Francisco, notably backing Proposition C, a tax on big tech companies that will deploy the money it raises to addressing the city’s homelessness problem.


Read more:
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Benioff and his wife Lynne also gave away $US100 million of their personal fortune this year. Some of that money went towards turning an old San Francisco hotel into housing for homeless people, while $US4.5 million went towards Friends of Ocean Action.


8. Evan and Sara Williams

The former Twitter CEO and founder of blog platform Medium donated $US100 million to various youth and educational charities.


7. Sheryl Sandberg

Sandberg plugged $US100 million into her donor-advised fund in 2018, which will reportedly continue to support LeanIn.org, her initiative to further female leadership, and OptionB.org, a website founded by Sandberg which helps people cope with grief.

According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Sandberg also seeded a new fund late last year called the Goldberg Charitable Support Fund, although it’s not yet clear what this fund will support.


6. Bill and Melinda Gates

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Bill and Melinda Gates published their annual letter on Tuesday, detailing what they have learned about and invested in over the past year.


Read more:
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They gave $US138 million to philanthropic causes in 2018, plugging money into global health, education, and advocacy projects, according to the Chronicle.

Last year, the couple topped the Philanthropy 50 list with donations of almost $US5 billion in 2017.


5. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan funnelled more than 1.4 million Facebook shares into their philanthropic fund last year, meaning an overall spend of $US214 million. It was a significant reduction on the $US2 billion they gave to good causes in 2017.


4. Paul Allen

Steve Dykes / Getty Images

Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen passed away in October 2018 after donating $US261 million to charity.

He primarily gave his money to medical and AI organisations, while also donating to museums including the Flying Heritage and Combat Armour Museum, the US Olympic and Paralympic Foundation, and the Museum of Pop Culture.


Read more:
The extraordinary life of Microsoft’s billionaire cofounder Paul Allen, who has died at the age of 65


3. Steve and Connie Ballmer

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie gave away $US295 million to philanthropic causes in 2018. It is the first time they have appeared in the Chronicle’s ranking since 2014, when they gave away $US110,000.


2. Pierre and Pam Omidyar

eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam gave away $US392 million in 2018 to a range of causes, up $US135 million in 2017.


1. Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos

Jeff and his soon-to-be-ex-wife Mackenzie Bezos were new entrants to the Chronicle of Philanthropy list – and they went straight in at number one overall.

The pair donated $US2 billion to good causes. In June 2018, Bezos – who is the world’s richest man – asked Twitter what philanthropic cause he should give his billions to.

In the end, the money was used to fund non-profit schools and homeless charities through Bezos’ “Day One Fund.”

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