2010 was a bad year for charities, especially those looking to land big donations from America's wealthiest taxpayers. According to new reports, the 54 top givers in the country only donated $3.3 billion last year, which is the smallest sum since 2010. Even more interesting, few donations from the 50 who pledged to “ultimately donate half of all wealth.” I guess that starts in 2011?
Not many of those 54 donors are members of the premium tier of net-worth individuals. Of the 400 wealthiest Americans ranked by Forbes magazine, only 17 appeared on this year's list of the most-generous donors.
Noted investor George Soros topped the list with donations of $332 million, followed by media magnate and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, with donations of $279.2 million
There are signs the money might not be going to where it's most needed.
According to The Chronicle, nearly half of the 65 gifts of $5-million or more went to colleges or universities, a fact sure to upset those who argue the money would have more utility if applied to other causes.
But not all that money went to the "put my name on a building fund." Some of the gifts were specifically earmarked for student scholarship funds, or clean energy research programs.
Interestingly, no big gifts to colleges came from the under-50 set. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook and the world's youngest billionaire, made the top ten list with his donation of $100 million to the Newark, N.J., school system.
The lack of high-dollar gifts is likely to cause pain as charities work to survive a tough economy.