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Almost as quickly as it appeared, 2019 is almost gone into the annals of history. And as we look forward to another year of prosperity and charity, we can also take a look at the previous year’s standout philanthropic endeavors. Forbes has officially unveiled its list of America’s top donors. As this site is dedicated to all things philanthropy, I figured it would be worthwhile to do a quick audit of a few of the donors who made the list.


So, who gave the most money to charity last year?


Warren Buffett

This entry should not come as a surprise to anyone. The legendary entrepreneur and philanthropist landed the number one spot on Forbes’ list. In 2018, Buffett donated a whopping $3.4 billion to a variety of charitable causes, primarily the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. He also donated to the Novo Foundation, as well as the Howard G. Buffet Foundation and the Sherwood Foundation. While each of the last three charities are run by his children, they have very different agendas, including ending poverty, promoting women’s rights and social justice.


As the founder of the Giving Pledge, a pact between the world’s elite that promises to donate the majority of their earnings, it’s no surprise that Buffett is so charitable. 


Hansjoerg Wyss

Although his name might not be as well-known as Buffett’s, Wyss is no slouch in the philanthropy department. According to Forbes, he donated well over $400 million last year, specifically to charities focused on saving our planet. What’s more, he even created his own charity (Wyss Campaign for Nature) with a very specific goal in mind: protect at least 30% of the planet’s surface by 2030. That’s a lofty goal, and he’s paid quite a bit of money to see it happen. The foundation donated $12 million to the Argentinian charity Fundación Flora y Flauna to purchase over 60,000 acres of land to create a national park within the country. 


Irwin and Joan Jacobs

This power couple ranks number 21 on the list, having donated $135 million to charities. Their donations typically center on scientific research and institutions. For example, they donated $37.5 million to the Jewish Community Foundation, as well as renovated the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.


These philanthropists may be wealthy, but they are not that different from you or me. They still feel compelled to do good, which is what everyone needs to do. You don’t need to be ultra rich, you just have to care. And at the Opes Group, we do exactly that. Hopefully this blog will inspire you to go out and identify matters/situations that you care most about such as education, after school social activities, health, the environment etc. and contribute money or time to bring about change in these areas. As we enter the holiday season and give thanks for the world around us let us work to make it a better place so that future generations also have a reason to be thankful.