America’s Leading Black Philanthropists

From education to health, African Americans pump billions into charities and causes, fueling their clout and mission to change the world

the Most Powerful Blacks in Sports. We then reached out to a number of well-known black philanthropists. Each candidate received a survey that requested information about donations from fiscal year 2002 to 2004 because, unlike foundations, individuals do not necessarily give every year. We followed up by directly contacting every individual who received a survey.

On our survey, we asked each participant to provide their top five pledges made to charities—including faith-based organizations, foundations, and colleges and universities. We then asked each participant to list the top five donations made to charities. For the purposes of this article, we chose to rank individuals only according to donations—actual money paid. Many candidates, naturally, chose not to complete the survey because of fear of publicity and/or unwanted solicitation for money. In cases where donations had been reported in the past, we confirmed dollar amounts, the date of the gift, and the type of gift with either the philanthropist or a senior-level executive at the organization receiving the gift. The minimum donation for individuals considered for this list was $250,000.

Charities & Foundations
We collected financial information from
Internal Revenue Service 990 forms provided by GuideStar, a national nonprofit database company. Qualifying foundations and charities must file a 990 each year by the 15th day of the fifth month after the end of their fiscal year. Each nonprofit has a different fiscal year-end date, therefore filing dates for the 990 vary. The most complete forms report donations from 2003. In addition, not all foundations are required to file a 990. We did not include those organizations. We also did not include foundations that do not donate money.

Because foundations devote a large portion of their grant money to operating costs, they often give less than individuals. On our list, we only identified donations—actual money paid to organizations, charities, and causes—and excluded administrative costs. The minimum donation for charities and foundations to be considered for this list was $100,000. —The Editors

SEVEN WAYS TO GIVE TO YOUR FAVORITE CAUSES
Many of today’s philanthropists are everyday citizens attempting to give money to worthy causes. Philanthropic efforts can be a random act of kindness such as giving loose change to a homeless person, or something as sophisticated as setting up a trust or foundation, complete with a board of trustees and an executive director. There are options, and each with its own tax implication. For this reason, we offer you seven ways of giving. You don’t have to be rich and famous to set up a foundation, just willing to give to charitable causes that you believe are worth keeping around. In addition to working with your financial planner to develop your philanthropic strategies, explains Dwight Raiford, a financial planner for nearly 30 years, it is important to consult with a tax adviser. —C.M.B.

1 Make Annual Gifts to an Established Charity. This contribution can be to a church, an educational institution, a fraternity or sorority, or other nonprofit organization. Make sure that the organization has a 501(c) 3 legal status. This means

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