2005-11-19

Money & Stats: Gates Toppled by Moore Charity Surprise

Bill and Melinda Gates have been toppled from their role as king and queen of charitable giving, their crowns stolen by a fellow computer giant family, according to a new list of America's top 50 philanthropists. The founder of the software firm 'Microsoft' and his wife, who had glowed in the Nr. 1 spot of 'BusinessWeek Magazine's' annual list since it began, have been overtaken by Mr.Gordon Moore, founder of the 'Intel Corporation'... He and his wife donated or pledged 4_110_million_GBP over the past five years to conservation causes and scientific research. 'Gordon Moore and his wife Betty, have achieved the unthinkable, unseating Bill and Melinda Gates,' said 'BusinessWeek'. The Moores' total donations from 2001 to 2005 trumped those of Mr & Ms Gates by just over 875_million_GBP. In terms of lifetime giving, however, the Microsoft couple, champions of AIDS and malaria causes, are still on top, having paid out nearly 16_300_million_GBP, which is three times greater than the Moores -- and more than the rest of the top ten tycoons put together. In third place on the five-year list is the investment tycoon Mr.Warren Buffett, who gave away about half the amount of Mr.Gates, closely followed by Mr.George Soros, also a millionaire investor. Other philanthropic heavyweights include Ms.Veronica Atkins, the widow of Dr.Robert Atkins, who earned a fat fortune by making followers of his slimming diet thinner. Their money goes mainly into the eradication of obesity and diabetes, while Mr.Thomas Monagahan, founder of 'Domino's Pizza', puts much of his cash into Roman Christian education. Of the top ten, two have given away more than they are now worth: over the years, the Moores have donated more than one and a half times their current fortune, while Mr.James Stowers, the founder of the investment group 'American Century', has written charity cheques totalling 699_million_GBP in the last five years, keeping just 417_million_GBP for himself. The Gates's donations represent 55 per cent of what they now own, while Mr.Soros has pocketed just a quarter of his financial holdings and sent the rest to charity. Others may not appear to have been as 'big-hearted'. The Walton family, which owns the cut-price retail empire, 'Wal-Mart' -- the owner of 'ASDA' and the world's largest company in terms of revenue -- has given away 641_million_GBP since 2001. That represents just 2 per cent of its current personal net worth of 47_800_million_GBP. Mr.Michael Dell, founder of the 'Dell computer company', who is ninth on the list, has given away only 7 per cent of his 10_400_million_GBP wealth. But observers point out that the list covers only personal donations and that the companies give corporately too. 'Wal-Mart' Stores, for example, tops the list of most generous corporate givers. Also, many of business leaders spread their giving over a more prolonged period, meaning that the five-year tally may appear low, while some give away less of their fortunes now so they have more to leave to charities -- of which there are more than a million in the United States of America -- when they die. Ms.Stacy Palmer, editor of 'The Chronicle of Philanthropy', said:
'The Gates's, for example, put money into their charitable foundation even if it isn't necessarily going to be given out right away.'
Among the newcomers, is USA-born Sir.John Marks Templeton, a naturalised British citizen, who vaulted on to the list at Nr.11 with a gift of 320_million_GBP -- 'the most dramatic move by any individual donor', 'BusinessWeek Magazine' notes. Despite earning a multi-billion dollar fortune from his investment career, the 92-year-old drives himself to work in a 'Ford Kia' car and does all his own photocopying. His money is targeted at efforts to prove that science and religion can co-exist.
'What I'm financing is humility,' he said. 'I want people to realise that you shouldn't think you know it all.'
Scot who believed in giving it all away The world's highest-spending philanthropist, Mr.Andrew Carnegie, was born in Dunfermline in 1835. Mr.Carnegie, whose family moved to North America in 1848, rose from working in a cotton mill to become the second-richest person in the world. But convinced that the rich had a duty to help others, he decided to give his money away. By the time he died in 1919, he had given away 350_million_USD of his 480_million_USD accumulated wealth, worth around 40_000_million_USD today.
'Intel founder takes over as world's biggest benefactor', Jacqui Goddard, The Scotsman, 2005-11-19, Sa

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