Looking for Robb Report UK? Click here to visit our UK site.

America’s 25 Biggest Philanthropists Gave a Whopping $27 Billion to Charities in 2022

The nation’s most generous billionaires have collectively donated $196 billion to date.

FILE - Bill and Melinda Gates pose for a photo on Feb. 1, 2019, in Kirkland, Wash. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has published its annual letter Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, that outlines the organization's priorities and announced its $8.3 billion budget for 2023. CEO Mark Suzman, who authored the letter, raised the question of whether the foundation has too much power and influence. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file) Elaine Thompson/AP

Despite all the economic doom and gloom, America’s wealthy continue to give.

The country’s 25 most generous philanthropists donated $27 billion to charitable causes last year, according to Forbes. The total amount given in 2022 was actually more than the two previous years combined ($20 billion) and double the sum donated in 2018. The nation’s 25 biggest donors have collectively parted with $196 billion to date, per Forbes’s estimates.

The uptick in generosity comes at a time when fortunes are shrinking. The world’s richest people lost $2 trillion last year and the number of ultra-wealthy people around the globe is declining. The combined wealth of the top 25 philanthropists dropped by 15 percent ($164 billion) year-over-year to $936 billion in 2022. It doesn’t appear to be a deterrent, though; all 25 doled out meaningful amounts.

CORRECTS COMPANY INVESTMENTS - FILE - Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, smiles as he plays bridge following the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Neb., on May 5, 2019. Buffett's company bet more on high-tech darling Apple during the second quarter, while also investing billions in old-school oil producers Occidental Petroleum and Chevron. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)
Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, is the country’s biggest giver. Nati Harnik

Warren Buffett again takes the crown as the country’s most generous billionaire, as measured by the total amount given away in a lifetime. The CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, also known as the Oracle of Omaha, has been handing over billions of dollars worth of his company’s stock annually for nearly two decades. Forbes estimates Buffett gave $5.4 billion to various charities in 2022 and has donated $51.5 billion to date.

Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates (pictured top) scored second place. Despite their 2021 divorce, the pair continue to co-chair the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The two have collectively given $38.4 billion to charities so far within their lifetime and helm the world’s largest private charitable foundation. George Soros came in third place by donating some $18.4 billion to date.

Google cofounder Sergey Brin and hedge funder Ken Griffin joined the list for the first time, after giving away $2.55 billion and $1.56 billion in 2022, respectively. MacKenzie Scott, the novelist and former wife of billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, notably donated nearly $6 million to nonprofits last year.

Sixteen of the 25 have signed the Giving Pledge, promising to donate at least half their fortune within their lifetime or after their death. Most have a ways to go to achieve that goal—Chuck Feeney, T. Denny Sanford and George Soros are the only three who have met it—but years like this certainly help.

More Finance