Top philanthropists of the century

– Riya Ganguly

EdelGive Foundation and Hurun Research released the “2021 EdelGive Hurun Top 10 Philanthropists of the Century” on 23rd June 2021, with Indian pioneer industrialist Jamsetji Tata topping the list of philanthropists of the century with a total of UDS 102.4 billion donations.

Releasing the inaugural list of philanthropists around the world, the EdelGive and Hurun rankings are based on “Total Philanthropic Value”, calculated as the subtotal of the value of assets adjusted for inflation, together with the sum of gifts and/or distributions to date. The world’s top 10 philanthropists in the last century hailed from four countries- one from India, one from UK, one from Switzerland and seven from USA. Here are 2021 EdelGive Hurun Top 10 Philanthropists of the Century ranked:

Jamsetji Tata

Jamsetji Tata, famous Indian industrialist and founder of Tata Sons, reigns first on the list of philanthropists with donations amassing to a staggering USD 102 billion. Starting his business with a textile mill at Chinchpokli, Mumbai, Tata created his empire in the 1870’s with the inception of Central India Spinning Weaving and Manufacturing Company and began Tata Trusts with the 1892 establishment of the JN Tata Endowment, primarily working towards higher education and healthcare.

Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates

With USD 74.6 billion donations, Bill and Melinda Gates were ranked second on this list. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), one of the leaders in venture philanthropy, are known for its endowment of a range of social causes from health care to awarding scholarships. Trending lately for the recent announcement of their divorce, they have announced their intentions to continue their roles in the BMGF and ensure the continuation of their philanthropic ends.

Also read: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Henry Wellcome

The British-American pharmaceutical entrepreneur stands third on the list, with USD 56.7 billion donations to his cause. Wellcome’s status as a pioneer druggist stems from his numerous contributions and innovations in medicine such as the standardisation of insulin, and Wellcome’s philanthropy finds its source at the foundation of the Wellcome Trust in 1936, currently one of the world’s largest biomedical research charities.

Howard Hughes

With donations totalling USD 38.6 billion, Howard Hughes secured the fourth position among the top 10 philanthropists of the century. Renowned American business magnate, film tycoon and aviator, he was known for being among the most financially successful people of his lifetime and his eccentric and reclusive lifestyle. Hughes launched the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1953, an establishment which went on to become one of the largest private organisations committed to biomedical research.

Warren Buffett

The “Oracle of Omaha” was ranked fifth with donations amassing to USD 37.4 billion, being the only name to feature on the list without a significant philanthropic foundation of his own. Chairman, CEO and largest shareholder of the Berkshire, the famous investor and businessman is noted to have donated about 99 percent of his wealth to philanthropic causes via the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, non-profits founded by his children and the BMGF, from which he recently resigned as trustee.

George Soros

Another billionaire investor and philanthropist and the founder of Soros Fund Management, Soros’ philanthropic contributions total USD 34.8 billion, putting him sixth on the list. Popularly hailed as “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England”, the creation of the Open Society Foundation marked the start of his philanthropic initiatives, generously dispensing donations to social causes supporting justice, public health, education and reduction of poverty.

Hans Wilsdorf

On the seventh position with USD 31.5 billion donations, Hans Wilsdorf amassed his wealth and legacy as the founder of Rolex and Tudor. Wilsdorf established the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation in 1945 which owns and controls Rolex, donating a substantial amount to various social causes and charity in Geneva, Switzerland.

JK Lilly Sr

With donations totalling USD 27.5 billlion, the president and chairman of Eli Lilly and Company was ranked eighth on the list. The American businessman and pharmaceutical industrialist along with his sons established the Lilly Endowment in in 1937, contributing to the support of education, community development and religion.

John D Rockefeller

John D Rockefeller is on the ninth position with donations amassing USD 26.8 million. Considered the wealthiest American and richest person in modern history, the founder of Standard Oil Company established the Rockefeller Foundation in 1913, endowing millions to public health causes, medical training and the arts.

Edsel Ford

The American business executive ranked tenth on the list with USD 26.7 billion donations. Son of industrialist John Ford and president of Ford Motor Company until his demise, Edsel Ford established the Ford Foundation in in 1936, an American private foundation aimed at advancing human welfare.

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