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The $3 billion that Mike Bloomberg gave to charity last year landed him atop the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s just-released annual list of the nation’s 50 biggest donors. Bloomberg donated 1 in 4 of the dollars those wealthy people gave collectively in 2023.

Three scholars of philanthropy have spotted a few important trends in the new data. David Campbell of Binghamton points out that Melinda French Gates has made her first independent appearance on this list following her divorce from Bill Gates. Angela R. Logan of Notre Dame observes that billionaires with their own foundations are giving more these days through donor-advised funds – accounts that serve a similar purpose as foundations but have less stringent disclosure rules. And Michael Moody of Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy explains why he’s ready to see some surprises from big donors in 2024.

We could bring you this data on the same morning it was published because of a partnership between the Chronicle, The Associated Press and The Conversation U.S. that began in 2020. And starting tomorrow, we’re joining forces to produce Giving Today, a new philanthropy newsletter. Please subscribe now so you can be among the first to get it in your inbox every Wednesday.

The latest from the the world of philanthropy and nonprofits. Sign up for our weekly newsletter, Giving Today. ]

Emily Schwartz Greco

Philanthropy + Nonprofits Editor

Penny Knight and Phil Knight were the second-largest givers of 2023. Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Donations by top 50 US donors fell again in 2023, sliding to $12B − Mike Bloomberg, Phil and Penny Knight, and Michael and Susan Dell led the list of biggest givers

David Campbell, Binghamton University, State University of New York; Angela R. Logan, University of Notre Dame; Michael Moody, Indiana University

Three philanthropy scholars discuss several trends in giving by the wealthiest Americans highlighted in this yearly report. Among them: Much of this money doesn’t go to charities right away.

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