SEATTLE — Money donated by the nation's most chartable people is starting to catch up with prerecession giving, thanks in part to some very large bequests from a few donors.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported Monday in its annual report of the nation's most generous people that the top 50 donors made pledges in 2011 to give a total of $10.4 billion.
The donors gave a total of $3.3 billion in 2010, the smallest total since the Chronicle began tracking the biggest donors in 2000. A decade ago, the top 50 givers gave $12.5 billion.
Two people are conspicuously absent from the top 50 list this year: Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. That's because the Chronicle doesn't include payments on gifts promised in past years in its spreadsheet of top givers. Gates and Buffett made large payments on past pledges in 2011.
It took gifts totaling at least $26 million to make the list this year. People on the list gave a median of $61 million in 2011, compared with $39.6 million in 2010.
The Chronicle notes that 379 of the Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans did not report making any big charitable gifts.
The Chronicle creates it annual list by asking the nation's wealthiest people and America's biggest nonprofits to report on charitable giving. Not all donors disclose their giving publicly, however, and the list does not include gifts from anonymous donors. The Chronicle reported 76 anonymous gifts of $1 million or more in 2011, which totaled $546 million.