Three of every four of the wealthiest Americans give to charity through their own private foundations, Forbes reported Oct. 18.
A survey of names ranking in the top third of the Forbes 400 – the magazine’s ranking of the 400 wealthiest Americans — showed private foundations for 104 individuals worth $2 billion and up.
While wealthy people continue to give directly to public charities like the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, private foundations provide donors and their families significant control over programs they fund, the magazine said.
Tax breaks provide another advantage.
Gains in value for property given to charity are not taxable, and funding a private foundation provides an immediate tax deduction for money that can be donated for years to come.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation tops the list of privately funded foundations, with an endowment of $21 billion, followed by the Annenberg Foundation, with $4 billion, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, with $1.9 billion.
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