WASHINGTON — Philanthropy made a comeback in large donations in 2013 with the nation's wealthiest donors giving more than $3.4 billion to charity, according to a new tally of the top 10 gifts of 2013 by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
The analysis of the year's top gifts also found there were more gifts of $100 million or more than in 2012. In 2013, there were 15 publicly announced gifts of at least $100 million, compared with 11 in 2012.
The largest donation of 2013 came from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, who announced in December that they had given 18 million shares of Facebook stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The gift was valued at more than $990 million. This was the first time donors under the age of 30 have made the nation's largest philanthropic gift, according to the report.
Colleges and universities also were among the primary beneficiaries of some of the nation's biggest donations, the report found.
Nike Inc. co-founder and chairman Philip Knight and his wife, Penelope, made the second largest gift commitment of 2013, pledging $500 million to the Oregon Health and Science University Foundation for cancer research. The university has to match the donation in the next two years to receive the full gift.
The third highest gift of 2013 was a $350 million pledge from Michael Bloomberg to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore to promote cross-disciplinary studies and undergraduate financial aid.
Other top gifts by American philanthropists were pledged to Yale, Stanford, the University of Michigan, Yeshiva University in New York City, Georgetown University, Columbia Business School, the University of California at San Diego and Tsinghua University in Beijing.
After years of sluggish philanthropy, the upward trend provides a positive outlook for the nation's nonprofits, said Chronicle of Philanthropy Editor Stacy Palmer.