Trumah and Truth

In 2010, American philanthropists donated approximately $3.3 billion to charity – and 19 of the 53 top givers were Jews. George Soros ranked first with $332 million contributed in 2010.

Top DonorsNew York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was No. 2 with $279.2 million. Irwin and Joan Jacobs, Eli and Edythe Broad, and Leonard Blavatnik, respectively took places four through six, with $117 million to $119 million in donations.

But are American Jews not doing enough for other Jews? Stephen and Nancy Grand gave more than $20 million of their $28 million of their charitable donations in 2010 to the American Technion Society, that supports the Technion: Israel Institute for Technology. Whereas, Soros gave $1 million to World ORT in September, and Bloomberg gave a smaller donation to the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged, their gifts to Jewish organizations made-up a small proportion of their overall giving.

Hedge fund manager, William Ackman and his wife Karen gave away $59.3 million last year. At 44, Ackman is one of Wall Street’s toughest players and a regular on the dais of the UJA-Federation of New York’s annual Wall Street banquet. He made his most significant Jewish contribution in the past year, directing a move to bail out the Center for Jewish History in New York from its $30 million debt with a gift of $6.8 million.

Irwin Jacobs, founder of Qualcomm, gave a $100 million-plus San Diego Symphony with a $100 million-plus gift last decade, he and his wife, Joan, have chosen to give away most of their savings through a donor-advised fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego, where Joan Jacobs is a board member. Last year, they gave the fund $39.1 million, which will be spent on both Jewish and nonsectarian causes.

Here is the list of Jews gracing the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Philanthropy 50 top givers of 2010, with their rank and total philanthropic contributions in 2010:


George Soros, $332m

Michael R. Bloomberg, $279.2m

Irwin M. and Joan K. Jacobs, $119.5m

Eli and Edythe L. Broad, $118.3m

Leonard Blavatnik, $117.2m

Meyer and Renee Luskin, $100.5m

Marc R. and Lynne Benioff, $100m

Mark Zuckerberg, $100m

William A. and Karen Ackman, $59.3m

Charles E. Kaufman, $53.3m

Lawrence J. Ellison, $45.1m

Lee G. and Jane H. Seidman, $42m

Lin Arison, $39m

Herman Ostrow, $35m

Stephen and Nancy Grand, $28.1m

David M. Rubenstein, $26.6m

Paul and Daisy M. Soros, $25m

Iris Cantor, $20m

Richard A. and Susan P. Friedman, $20m

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