Jamsetji Tata Named Top Philanthropist of Last Century: Report

Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates took the second spot with $74.6 billion.

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Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata named the World’s Top Philanthropist of last century.

Jamsetji Tata, the founder of Tata Group, has been named the topmost philanthropist of the last century globally by Edelgive Foundation and Hurun India.

The inaugural list on philanthropists of the century released by Edelgive Foundation and Hurun India noted that with donations of $102.4 billion, Jamsetji Tata is the topmost philanthropist globally.

The total philanthropic value of Tata is made up of 66 percent of Tata Sons, estimated at $100 billion, solely based on the value of listed entities, the report said.

Tata made his fortune in the 1870s after floating the Central India Spinning Weaving and Manufacturing Company and set up the JN Tata Endowment in 1892 for higher education, which was the beginning of the Tata Trusts. India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru often mentioned him as the “One Man Planning Commission”, the report said.


Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates took the second spot with $74.6 billion.

A statement said that most of the entrants in the list created their charitable trusts by endowing the shares owned in their respective family businesses.

In certain cases, their immediate descendants created the charitable foundations, named after their parents.

The top 50 philanthropists cumulatively distributed $329 billion over the years. Philanthropists such as Warren Buffett and Mackenzie Scott donated directly or through other foundations.

The top 50 individuals collectively contributed $30 billion or 6 percent of their total endowments as annual grants.

With $8.5 billion donations, Scott is the biggest annual grant maker followed by Buffett ($2.7 billion) and Bill & Melinda Gates ($2.5 billion).

Most of the top 50 philanthropists or their private foundations donated towards COVID-19.

The Ford Foundation ($1 billion), WK Kellogg Foundation ($300 million), Andrew W Mellon Foundation ($200 million), MacArthur Foundation ($125 billion) and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation ($100 million) issued a $1.75 billion bond offering to countering the unprecedented public health and economic crisis.

With 38 philanthropists, the US topped the list of countries, followed by the UK with 5, China with 3 and India with 2.

The average age of the top 50 foundations is 58 years.

Nearly 66 percent of the top 50 philanthropic institutions are managed by founders or founding family members and the remaining 34 percent managed by professional managers without the involvement of founding family members.

“The report lays down a narrative, indicating the path that the philanthropic sector has taken to get here, to this point, and charts the course that it may likely take moving forward.”
Vidya Shah, EdelGive Foundation Executive Chairperson 

“The stories of the world's biggest philanthropists of the last century tell a tale of modern philanthropy. The legacies of the world's earliest billionaires such as Carnegie and Rockefeller, through to the Bill Gates and Warren Buffett's of today, show how wealth created has been redistributed,” Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said.

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