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Introduction to American Philanthropists.

Bill and Melinda Gates

No.1: Bill and Melinda Gates

Amount donated in 2014: $1.5-billion

Beneficiary: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Background: Mr. Gates is a co-founder of Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., and they both are co-chairmen of the foundation they established in 2000.

Ralph Wilson Jnr

No.2: Ralph Wilson Jnr

Amount donated in 2014: Approximately $1-billion

Beneficiary: Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation

Background: Mr. Wilson founded the Buffalo Bills football team in 1959 and his estate sold the franchise in 2014 for $1.4-billion.

Ted Stanley

No.3: Ted Stanley

Amount donated in 2014: an estimated $652.4-million

Top beneficiary: Broad Institute

Background: Mr. Stanley founded MBI, a company that develops and markets collectible items.

Jan Koum

No.4: Jan Koum

Amount donated in 2014: $556-million

Jan Koum was a teenager living in Fastiv, Ukraine, when the Soviet Union fell in 1991. He had little to his name when he left for the United States a year later.

Sean Parker

No.5: Sean Parker

Amount donated in 2014: $550-million

Better known as the guy who helped start Napster and the founding president of Facebook

Taking the No. 5 spot on the Philanthropy 50 list, Mr. Parker gave a total of $550-million last year to the Sean N. Parker Foundation

Nicholas and Jill Woodman

No.6: Nicholas and Jill Woodman

Amount donated in 2014: $500-million

Beneficiary: Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Background: The Woodmans founded GoPro, a company that creates high-definition cameras.

Michael Bloomberg

No.7: Michael Bloomberg

Amount donated in 2014: $462-million

Beneficiaries: Arts, education, environmental, and public-health groups and programs aimed at improving city governments around the world.

Rachel Lambert (Bunny) Mellon

No.8: Rachel Lambert (Bunny) Mellon

Amount donated in 2014: Approximately $411.3-million

Her friends say she was happiest working in the garden, but the heiress Bunny Mellon was no backyard dabbler. She was a self-taught and respected horticulturalist who from childhood had studied plant and gardening design.

Sergey Brin

No.9: Sergey Brin

Amount donated in 2014: $382.8-million

Beneficiary: Brin Wojcicki Foundation

Background: Mr. Brin co-founded Google.

Paul Allen

No.10: Paul Allen

Amount donated in 2014: $298-million

Top beneficiary: Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

Other notable gift: Allen Institute for Cell Science

Leonard Blavatnik

No.11: Leonard Blavatnik

The Ukraine-born American citizen with an estimated net worth of $18.5 billion does however prefer living in London.

Last year he gave £59 million (about $90 million) to charitable causes, according to the Sunday Times Giving List 2015.