Close readers of this annual list might remember that Leona Helmsley was originally listed as the No. 1 donor of 2007. Indeed, Helmsley passed away in 2007, and we counted her bequest, then believed to be about $4 billion, for that calendar year. We jumped the gun.
As of 2008, her estate is closer to being settled; we have a more accurate accounting of the worth of that estate, and we have better information about where her bequests are going. As such, we've edited our 2007 list to count Conrad Hilton's pledge of $1.2 billion as our top gift.