The 2009 Slate 60
The largest American charitable contributions of the year.
Large (and often named) gifts to local, regional, and national health centers, universities and arts organizations landed 41 givers on this list and bring considerable benefit to society. And several innovative gifts on this year's list will accelerate scientific research and support efforts for a more sustainable planet. But we see far too few large gifts on this list to standout organizations—local or global—fighting inequity and poverty here and around the globe. Where are CARE, YWCA, Save the Children, Boys & Girls Club, United Negro College Fund, ONE.org or—even more notable in their absence—the standout regional human services or advocacy organizations that serve a donor's community and would be able to reach new heights with a major gift? This year's Slate 60 has precious few examples of gifts sharply focused on reducing inequity. The Terwilliger gift to Habitat for Humanity and Michael Bloomberg's investments to improve road safety in the developing world stand out in the crowd. Virginia Bernthal Toulmin's $20 million pledge to the Dayton Foundation will no doubt serve the social service sector in her hometown. It would be great to see future Slate 60s contain a higher number of big gifts targeted at reducing inequity.
To be sure, the best Great Givers don't just give big, give now, and give for great social impact—they measure success as well as failure and they learn from their giving and continue to improve their investing year after year—whether they make the Slate 60 or, like Tom White or Chuck Feeney, fall off the major wealth lists because their giving was so great.
"It's not what you were given, it's what you do with it that matters. " Mom was right.
For the ninth time in the 14 years of the Slate 60, the list has been compiled by the staff of the Chronicle of Philanthropy. We'd like to thank them for their tremendous work, especially Maria Di Mento, who prepares the list, and Sue LaLumia for photo research and collection. Thanks also go to Heather Joslyn, Caroline Preston, Joan Waynick, Ian Wilhelm, and Grant Williams.
Patty Stonesifer is the chair of the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents and a senior adviser to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where she was president, then CEO for 10 years. She spent the first two decades of her career in the technology business, where her last job was senior vice president at Microsoft.
Illustration in the interactive feature and on Slate's home page by Nina Frenkel. For complete photo credits, click spacerhereyeshyperlinkPhotographs of: Steven and Carol Aaron courtesy of Dallas Jewish Community Foundation; Paul Allen by Mark Wilson/Getty Images; Caroline Amplatz courtesy Minnesota Medical Foundation; Michael Bloomberg courtesy the office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Eli and Edythe Broad by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images; Joseph and Linda Chlapaty by Joe Dixon; William Clements courtesy Texas State Library; Henry and Rebecca Conn by Melissa Bugg; Jerry and Judith Davis courtesy the University of Florida Foundation; M.A. Douglas courtesy University of California-Irvine; Stanley and Fiona Druckenmiller courtesy John Abbott; David Eddings courtesy Reed College; Lawrence Ellison by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images; Bill Gates by Getty Images; Thomas Golisano by Getty Images; Robert Gumbiner by Thomas McConville, courtesy Museum of Latin American Art; Arthur Hodson courtesy of Indiana Wesleyan U.; John and Susan Jackson by Michael Marsland, courtesy of Yale University; Irwin Jacobs by Getty Images; Dolores Jordan courtesy California State University-Fresno; William Lowrie courtesy Ohio State University; William McGuire courtesy United Health Group; W.A. (Tex) Moncrief courtesy the University of Texas; Louise Nippert courtesy Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; Pierre Omidyar by Eric Millette; Conrad Prebys by Nadia Borowski Scott, courtesy Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute; Stewart and Lynda Resnick courtesy Los Angeles Museum County Museum of Art; Raymond Rich courtesy of Marist College; David Rubenstein by Bill Denison, courtesy the Carlyle Group; Eric and Wendy Schmidt by Getty Images; Jeffrey Skoll by Getty Images; George Soros by Getty Images; Ted and Vada Stanley courtesy newyorksocialdiary.com; Ted Turner by Getty Images; Albert Viragh courtesy of Chaminade College Prepratory School; Sanford and Joan Weill by Colin Williams; Oprah Winfrey by Getty Images.10000false2201027102706PMSundayFebFebruary222/8/2010 3:27:06 AM634011784260000000201027102706PMSundayFebFebruary222/8/2010 3:27:06 AM634011784260000000.