How do you judge the philanthropic efforts of others? According to the new rank and profiles created by "Barron's" and Global Philanthropy group, you concentrate on results.
The joint effort, published on the magazine's latest cover, "considered scores of philanthropists, rating them on such criteria as innovation, quality of alliances with other groups, the ripple effects of their giving and the extent to which their successful projects can be replicated. We gravitated to philanthropists whose causes address severe problems, like children's health in high-poverty regions of the world, but a broad range of causes, even in the arts, are reflected in the final cut."
Nearly 20 percent of the list includes donors from overseas, and some of the top 25 include celebrities like Brad Pitt and Magic Johnson. The ranking adds up to a motley crew of highly efficient givers that are dedicated to fixing specific issues that have a larger implication for the communities they focus their efforts in.
Here are a bit about the three philanthropists topping this year's list:
- Pierre & Pam Omidyar, Omidyar Network EBay founder Pierre Omidyar says the best piece of philanthropic advice he ever received was this: Don't set up a foundation. The Omidyar Network operates more like a venture-capital outfit, investing in businesses and nonprofits that aim for social change. The network and other efforts have huge multiplier effects: A100 million fund the couple established at Tufts University is set to produce1 billion in microloans in developing countries while also turning a profit for Tufts, Pierre's alma mater.
- Jeff Skoll, Skoll Foundation
Skoll, eBay's second employee, makes sure in his giving that "the positive social returns vastly exceed the amount of time and money involved." He's done that for 10 years by awarding unrestricted three-year grants to 59 entrepreneurial groups trying to build a more peaceful and prosperous world. The results can be stunning: One of this year's grant recipients has trained armies of large rats to sniff for landmines in Africa, remnants of brutal civil wars there.
- Chris and Jamie Cooper-Hohn, The Children's Investment Fund Foundation As the manager of one of Britain's largest activist hedge funds, Chris Cooper-Hahn has earned the label "ruthless." The children of India and Sub-Saharan Africa sure wouldn't know it. Chris sends a good chunk of the fund's profits and fees to a foundation run by his wife Jamie, swelling it to2.5 billion in assets. The foundation then uses leverage of another kind, aiming, for instance, to save kids by saving their mothers.
To learn more about all of today's 25 most effective givers, read the article at Barrons.com.