2021 EdelGive Hurun Philanthropist of the Century

By EdelGive Hurun On 24 June 2021
2021 EdelGive Hurun Philanthropist of the Century



Circa 9500 years ago, Sumerians used baked clay as financial tokens to enable trade. While one shape denoted cattle, another with a different shape represented oil. The roots of modern entrepreneurship is at these Sumerian tokens. Many civilizations existed before money, but none would have gotten far without it. 


Moving forward, the end of the 19th century kindled “The progressive era” and witnessed the rise of some of the most revered entrepreneurs such as Jamsetji Tata, Andrew Carnegie and so on. The world registers some of them as legends because they were not only super wealth creators but also progressive philanthropists, who believed in distributing the wealth they created.


Hurun and EdelGive Foundation have been chronicling the stories of living philanthropists through our Philanthropy Lists. However, the objective of this ‘once in a century list’ is to understand the Top 50 Philanthropists who were alive during the last century. Through these lists we have tried to understand the stories of some of these philanthropists and how their legacy has been carried forward across generations.


The father of Indian industry, Jamsetji Tata, tops the list followed by Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates. The average donation of the list is US$16.5bn and the threshold to enter the list is US$3.6bn. The list has entrants from 6 countries, and the youngest in the list is 49-year-old Ma Huateng.


This list is about the legends of philanthropy, and we hope it inspires.

Hurun Research and EdelGive Foundation today released the 2021 EdelGive Hurun Philanthropists of the Century, a ranking of the world’s most generous individuals from the past century. This is the first year of the ranking.


The ranking is based on Total Philanthropic Value, calculated as the value of the assets today together with the sum of gifts or distributions to date. For example, the Total Philanthropic Value of George Soros is the sum of current endowment of value of The Open Society Foundations (US$18bn) together with donations to date of US$16.8bn, ie a total of US$34.8bn. The Giving Pledges have not considered due to their non-binding nature.


The world’s 50 most generous individuals in the last century came from five countries, overwhelmingly led by the US with 39, followed by 5 from the UK, 3 from China, 2 from India and 1 from Portugal and Switzerland. Their donations amounted to US$832bn, of which US$503bn are in foundations today and US$329bn have been disbursed in the last century.


Vidya Shah, Executive Chairperson of EdelGive Foundation, said “In the age of the information overload, the EdelGive Hurun Report enables a more holistic understanding of the trends, motivations and mindsets that drive philanthropy across the world. 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.


Rupert Hoogewerf, Chairman and Chief Researcher of Hurun Report, said: “The stories of the world’s biggest philanthropists of the last century tells the story 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.”


“Whilst American and European philanthropists may have dominated the thinking of philanthropy over the last century, Jamsetji Tata, founder of India’s Tata Group, is the world’s biggest philanthropist.”


"Many of the philanthropists made the donation in the second generation rather than the first, such as the story of the Ford Foundation, which was set up by the son of Henry Ford."


“Today’s billionaires are not keeping up with philanthropy, making money much faster than they are giving it away. The speed of wealth creation is nothing short of staggering.  Three individuals added more than US$50bn in a single year, led by Elon Musk with US$151bn, on the back of the rise of e-cars, whilst e-commerce billionaires Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Colin Huang of Pinduoduo added US$50bn each. At this rate, expect to see fifty or more break through the US$100bn mark within the next five years.”


“How many billionaires are there in the world? The world today has probably 7,500 dollar billionaires, up 1,000 on last year, assuming that for every one Hurun Research found, we have probably missed at least one if not more, particularly from the Gulf states.  We have found 696 billionaires in the USA, for example, suggesting the true number should be at least double that, perhaps as many as 1,500. In China, we have found over 1000, but the actual number is probably closer to 2,500.”

Anas Rahman Junaid, MD and Chief Researcher of Hurun India said: “
It is a proud moment to see an Indian top the  2021 EdelGive Hurun Philanthropists of the Century.” 

For full report, please click here

Tag : Philanthropy Report

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