Giving Compass' Take:

• Leslie Albrecht reports that in 2018 Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos were the top charitable givers, but the top fifty donors collectively gave less than in 2017. 

• What do these shifts mean for the philanthropic sector? 

• Read about philanthropy trends to come in 2019

He became the world’s richest man last year and, finally, America’s biggest philanthropist.

Amazon AMZN, +1.06%   founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos topped the list of the country’s top 50 donors to charity in 2018, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, a magazine that covers nonprofits.

Despite his estimated $134.7 billion wealth, Bezos and his wife had never before appeared on the list of top donors, said Chronicle staff writer Maria Di Mento. After years of relative silence about their charitable efforts, they claimed the top spot after announcing a $2 billion pledge to fight homelessness and improve preschool education.

‘There was very likely a great deal of uncertainty last year among donors about how the markets and other aspects of the economy were performing.’—Chronicle of Philanthropy staff writer Maria Di Mento
Overall, however, Bezos and his fellow donors gave far less money to charity in 2018. Total giving among the “Philanthropy 50” amounted to $7.8 billion in 2018, roughly half the $14.7 billion given by the top 50 donors in 2017.

Read the full article about America's wealthiest individuals by Leslie Albrecht at MarketWatch.