These are the 29 most generous billionaires in America

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  • Of America’s 400 richest people, 29 have given away at least 10% of their billion-dollar fortunes, according to Forbes.
  • George Soros tops the list of most generous billionaires, donating more than $15 billion, or 64% of his fortune. By contrast, Jeff Bezos, the richest person on the planet, has given less than 1%.
  • “If the public sector will not take ‘personal responsibility’ for providing an adequate safety net for those in distress,” billionaire George Kaiser told Insider, “private philanthropy must do so.” 
  • Here’s a rundown of how much America’s wealthiest and most philanthropic people have donated — and their chosen charities, causes, and organizations.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

“If the public sector will not take ‘personal responsibility’ for providing an adequate safety net for those in distress, private philanthropy must do so.”

That’s the charitable mandate George Kaiser — one of America’s most generous (and most obscure) billionaires — shared with Insider. He’s a staunch advocate of the ultrawealthy giving back, not just during the holiday season but all year long.

The Oklahoma oilman has reportedly given away more than 20% of his $5.2 billion fortune, spending more than $100 million to revitalize Tulsa’s arts district alone. His foundation has arranged for meal deliveries to thousands of individuals in the city, where COVID-19 is spreading at a breakneck pace.

“Given the failure of the federal government to deal effectively with the health and social justice issues that dominated public concern this year, it is even more critical for state and local governments and private charities to help people work through these crises that are not of their making,” Kaiser told Insider via email. 

Kaiser, though, is somewhat of an outlier.

Out of America’s 400 richest people, 29 have given away at least 10% of their billion-dollar fortunes, according to Forbes. Jeff Bezos, the richest person on the planet with a net worth of $191.8 billion, has given away less than 1% of his fortune. (To put it this way, if you have $20,000 in assets and have donated more than $200 in your lifetime, you have given away a higher percentage of your wealth than the Amazon CEO.)

Former hedge fund magnate George Soros ranks as America’s most philanthropic billionaire as measured by percentage of net worth given away. The 90-year-old holocaust survivor, worth $8.6 billion, has given away more than $15 billion — 64% of his initial fortune — through the Open Society Foundations, his grantmaking network, according to Forbes.

The runner-up is Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett, who has donated an estimated $40 billion, or 46% of his $86.7 billion net worth, mostly through Bill and Melinda Gates’ namesake foundation.

The Microsoft founder himself also makes the cut, giving away at least 10% of his $120.1 billion in assets.

Here are America’s most generous billionaires, ranked by the estimated percentage of giving that reaches charitable organizations compared to their net worth.

All net worths and philanthropy percentages are sourced from Forbes and are current as of the stock market close on December 30, 2020.

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