The top philanthropic gestures of 2014

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It’s that time of the year, where many of us look back at the 365 days of 2014 and pick out the best parts and compile them into lists. In this case, we looked at some of the year’s top philanthropic gestures.

Here’s our pick of some noteworthy giving moments...

Warren Buffett

American billionaire investor Warren Buffett gave the biggest single charitable donation of 2014. It was made for US$2.1 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the form of 16.6 million shares of his company, Berkshire Hathaway.

Buffett topped the list of the 10 biggest single charitable donations of 2014, compiled by Wealth-X. Almost all of the list consisted of Americans, except for two, Hong Kong real estate tycoons Ronnie and Gerald Chan. Educational institutions received six of the donations, while health causes and philanthropic foundations received two each respectively.

Mark and Priscilla Zuckerberg

The Facebook founder and his wife donated US$25 million to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Foundation to help fight Ebola in October this year.

Writing on their decision to donate, Mark Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook page: “The Ebola epidemic is at a critical turning point. It has infected 8,400 people so far, but it is spreading very quickly and projections suggest it could infect one million people or more over the next several months if not addressed. We need to get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn't spread further and become a long term global health crisis that we end up fighting for decades at large scale, like HIV or polio. We believe our grant is the quickest way to empower the CDC and the experts in this field to prevent this outcome.”

While the amount is obviously a significant one, it’s heartening to see that the Zuckerbergs also have strong reasons behind the donation and what they would like to see it help achieve.

Richard Flanagan and Bob Graham 

On a more local note, Australian author Richard Flanagan, who was the joint winner of the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for fiction for his book The Narrow Road to The Deep North, donated his $40,000 share of the prize to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

A staunch critic of the PM, Flanagan said in an interview with Business Insider: “Money is like shit, pile it up and it stinks, spread it around and things grow,” Flanagan said at the ceremony. If me standing here means anything it’s that literacy can change lives.”

Author and illustrator Bob Graham, who was recognised for his children’s fiction book Silver Buttons, gave his $10,000 prize to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC).

The actions of these authors signify that while they not support the actions of the PM who awarded them the prizes, they were able to donate them to causes they believe in.

Do you know of a noteworthy philanthropic gesture that happened in 2014? Share it with us below.

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