Top Donors Gave Less in 2009

Although 2009's economic strife led to more Americans in need, it also meant that those donating had less to give, according to a new report. As expected, even the upper echelon of American wealth—like Bill and Melinda Gates, Michael Bloomberg, and George Soros—all dipped into their pockets this year, but not as deeply as they have in the past. The top 10 gifts in 2009 totaled $2.7 billion, about a third less than the 2008 figure. Stacy Palmer, editor of The Chronicle of Philanthropy, which compiled the report, says, "Even the very wealthy decided that they needed to figure out what they were doing with their finances and where their money would make the most difference. So they really stopped for a while and were not making any large commitments."