The world's richest person made the single-largest charitable contribution in 2020, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual list of top donations, a $10 billion gift that is intended to help fight climate change.
Amazon's founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, whose “real-time” worth Forbes magazine estimates at roughly $188 billion, used the contribution to launch his Bezos Earth Fund. The fund, which supports non-profits involved in the climate crisis, has paid out $790 million to 16 groups so far, according to the Chronicle.
Setting aside Bezos' whopping gift, though, the sum total of the top 10 donations last year — $2.6 billion — was the lowest since 2011, even as many billionaires vastly increased their wealth in the stock market rally that catapulted technology shares in particular last year. According to the left-leaning Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies, from March 18 through Dec. 7, 2020, Bezos' wealth surged by 63%, from $113 billion to $184 billion.
Phil Knight, who with his wife, Penny, made the second- and third-largest donations last year according to the Chronicle, increased his wealth by about 77% over the same March-to-December period. Knight and his wife gave more than $900 million to the Knight Foundation and $300 million to the University of Oregon.