Anschutz's $23 million tops donors in
CU prof Caruther second on charitable giving list
By Joanne Kelley
Rocky Mountain News
Saturday, February 23, 2008
It takes giving more than $1 billion to charity to be named
among the most generous philanthropists in the country these
it takes $23 million.
Denver financier Phil Anschutz tops the Rocky
Mountain News' first list of the state's biggest living
charitable donors, narrowly edging out
University of Colorado professor Marvin Caruther's $20 million gift
for a new biotechnology laboratory on the school's Boulder campus.
It required a donation of $1.2 billion for William Barron Hilton
to lead the Chronicle of Philanthropy's top 50 list for 2007.
Another hotel baron, Leona Helmsley, would have leapfrogged that
with a $4 billion bequest had her estate been settled in time.
Unlike in past years, no Coloradan made the Chronicle's annual
cut because it took parting with $38 million to gain a spot.
Still, the state's biggest donors help set an example,
especially in a state with such a high proportion of newcomers
and a lack of generations of Carnegies and large corporations,
according to Denver Foundation President David Miller.
"Our community is fortunate to have many generous
philanthropists," Miller said. "Nobody has to do this, and
it can inspire others who aren't doing it yet to do the same."
Software entrepreneur Tim Gill, with his foundation's annual
grants of $11.5 million, ranks third on the Rocky's
Philanthropic Five list. Carrie and John Morgridge's $10
million gift to the University of Denver
and cable magnate John Malone's foundation grants of $9.9
million round out the rankings.
Not that inclusion on a list necessarily counts among the chief
motivations of these givers. None of them agreed to an
interview request for this article. Tax filings and
information published in the past year provided the basis for
the Rocky's list, which attempts to include the biggest
donations but might have missed some nonetheless.
Some observers say that, despite apparently generous giving to
various causes, the affluent -- particularly those worth
billions of dollars -- give away far less than they can afford.
"Society is wrong to praise wealthy people who give away money
unless they give away substantial amounts of money," said Gregg
Easterbrook, author of the Progress Paradox and a visiting
fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank. "The
wealthy's main attitude toward money continues to be greed."
Easterbrook contends that Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates,
who has given billions to charity already, doesn't need to keep
tens of billions of dollars for himself. Even someone with
a mere $1 billion in net worth "couldn't get rid of all his
money even if he did nothing but spend it all day long."
Studies consistently show that lower-income people give away a
much bigger percentage of their income than the rich do.
But the bulk of charitable giving still comes from well-off
"Wealthy people have the wealth, and, if it weren't for their
giving, the charitable sector would be scrambling more for
resources," said Rick Cohen, who writes for the Nonprofit
Quarterly and formerly headed the National Committee for
"But the question still remains: Are the wealthy people as
generous as they might be? Not by a long shot," Cohen
kelleyj@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-954-5068