I give you permission to read this list but only if you’ll count to three afterwards. Let it sink in. Then DELETE IT! Forget about it.
Why? Because your organization will probably never get a gift as large as any of these.
So why am I showing it to you? Two reasons.
1- It’s fun to think about the potential of your planned giving program.
2- It’s important to come back to earth with the realization that most planned gifts come from ordinary people— NOT THE WEALTHY.
So go ahead and dream for a moment. Then get back to work. Call, write letters, send emails and meet with regular folks who care about your mission so deeply that they are willing to make your organization a member of their family by including you in their estate plan.
Here’s the list of some very large individual bequests:
Note: These are nominal values and have not been adjusted for inflation. This entire list was found on Wikipedia.
- $31 billion from Warren Buffett to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (initial value of the gift)
- $9 billion from Chuck Feeney to Atlantic Philanthropies
- $2 billion from Azim Premji to the Azim Premji Foundation in 2010.
- $1 billion from Ted Turner to the United Nations
- $500 million from T. Boone Pickens to Oklahoma State University.
- $500 million from Walter Annenberg to public school reform in the United States
- $350 million ($7 billion in modern terms) from Andrew Carnegie in 1901 who distributed most of his wealth to good causes, including the building Carnegie Hall New York City.
- $424 million from managers of the Reader’s Digest fortune to the Metropolitan Museum of Art
- $350 million from Michael Jackson who distributed most of his wealth to good causes, and who supported over 39 charity organizations. He was listed in the Guinness Book Of World Records for the “Most Charities Supported By a Pop Star”.
- $350 million from Yank Barry and his Global Village Champions in food, education and medical supplies to the needy around the World from 1990 to the present.
- $225 million from Raymond and Ruth Perelman, parents of Ronald O. Perelman, to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 2011.
- $200 million from Joan B. Kroc to National Public Radio in 2003
- $100 million from John D. Rockefeller to the Rockefeller Foundation, 1913-1914
- $100 million from Henry and Betty Rowan to Glassboro State College