Step aside, Rockefeller. Move over, Carnegie. Out of the way, Ford.
For the better part of a century, a few Gilded Age names dominated the ranks of big philanthropy.
In a matter of years, a new crop of ultra-wealthy Americans has eclipsed the old guard of philanthropic titans. With names like Soros, Gates, Bloomberg, Mercer, Koch and Zuckerberg, these new megadonors are upending long-established norms in the staid world of big philanthropy.
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They have accumulated vast fortunes early in their lives. They are spending it faster and writing bigger checks. And they are increasingly willing to take on hot-button social and political issues — on the right and left — that thrust them into the center of contentious debates.
Plenty of billionaires are still buying sports teams, building yachts and donating to museums and hospitals. But many new philanthropists appear less interested in naming a business school after themselves than in changing the world.