Mackenzie Scott and Michael Bloomberg among The Biggest Billionaire Donors
MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, set a record when she contributed $275 million to Planned Parenthood earlier this year. The gift was the largest in the organization’s history from a single donor, a sum aimed to support Planned Parenthood’s operations just as the anti-abortion movement drew closer to overturning Roe v. Wade after decades of trying.
For the first time in over five decades, the United States Supreme Court looks to be on the approach of overturning the historic ruling, allowing states to outright ban abortion.
Despite the fact that the country’s wealthiest philanthropists have been supporting reproductive rights organizations for decades, the cause accounts for a minuscule percentage of overall philanthropic giving. From 2015 to 2019, $1.7 billion went to reproductive rights charities, according to the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. This is 2.2 percent of the $76 billion raised from foundations during that time.
Even less money, $361 million, was set aside for abortion rights and services rather than other types of reproductive healthcare. According to the NCRP, the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation is the greatest single donor supporting abortion rights in the United States.
The foundation, which is funded by businessman Warren Buffett, the fourth wealthiest person in the United States, and named after his late wife, keeps a low profile when it comes to pro-choice contributions. Its website makes no mention of reproductive healthcare, instead of focusing on college scholarships for Nebraska kids. Requests for comment were not returned by the foundation.
Planned Parenthood receives a lot of funding from the Gates Foundation. The foundation has donated $81 million to the pro-choice movement since its inception in 2000.
According to the foundation’s grants database, the majority of that money went to Planned Parenthood’s international affiliates. The foundation’s $14.1 million in US payments to Planned Parenthood came to an end in 2007.
Despite the fact that Bill and Melinda French Gates are passionate pro-choice activists, a Gates Foundation representative told Forbes that the foundation does not actively support abortion.
“Every woman should be able to choose whether or not to have children,” stated the spokeswoman. “Our priority is to provide women’s health and family planning access.”
The Gates Foundation has also contributed money to pro-life organizations like World Vision International, a Christian relief organization that supports alternative methods of family planning such as cycle-tracking and education to help women space out their births.
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Because the Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions, providers frequently rely on philanthropy for funding. In contrast, Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which aim to prevent abortions, frequently receive state and federal support, reducing their need for private donations.
Because those giving streams are classified differently on Candid, the sector’s largest source of foundation data, it’s difficult to conduct an apples-to-apples comparison of pro-choice versus anti-abortion charitable spending.
Candid’s “Right to Life” category, for example, excludes donations to Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which are classified as maternal health, prenatal care, and other designations but are not usually NGOs.
The National Christian Foundation is the leading funder of pro-life organizations, according to the NCRP. It is not obligated to identify its donors or recipients as a sponsor of donor-advised funds.