Gates, Elton John, Carlos Slim Boost Clinton Foundation in 2011

Bill Gates and Elton John were behind some of the biggest contributions to the William J. Clinton Foundation in the past decade.

Since its start in 2001, the former U.S. president’s nonprofit has received more than $25 million each from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation; Unitaid, which fights the spread of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV; and Frank Giustra, mining executive and philanthropist, according to the Clinton Foundation.

All of those top donors also gave last year. Spokesman Matt McKenna said the foundation doesn’t disclose the specific amounts individual donors or organizations contribute in any year or the total of donations received.

In the $10 million to $25 million range, the past decade’s donors include Tom Golisano, founder of Paychex Inc. (PAYX), and the governments of Norway and Saudi Arabia.

The Elton John AIDS Foundation, a donor last year, has given between $5 million and $10 million over the years, according to the Clinton foundation. The charity started by art collector Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe, and Carlos Slim’s Fundacion Telmex have donated between $1 million and $5 million, which includes gifts made in 2011.

More than 17,000 of the 20,400 donations in 2011 were less than $250, with the median gift about $50.

“Each of them has helped improve lives and communities all over the world, proving that gifts of any amount can make a significant impact,” Clinton said in a statement.

Lehman Gap

To expand support in recent years, Clinton has been seeking a broader range of donors, including those making smaller gifts. The collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings (LEH) Inc. in 2008 cost the foundation $17 million in commitments from the company.

Over the years, donors to the nonprofit, which is based in Little Rock, Arkansas, have included a mix of businesses, corporations and celebrities, ranging from the state of Kuwait to film director Steven Spielberg.

A breakdown of the foundation’s spending isn’t available. the budget in 2010 was about $140 million, according to a tax filing. It has given more than $5 million to support pro bono programs in Haiti, helped more than 10,500 small farmers in Malawi and bolstered child nutrition, entrepreneurship and health programs in Latin America, according to a press release.

The Clinton Global Initiative, which used to operate under the foundation’s umbrella, now functions as a stand- alone nonprofit and is funded separately by donors and corporate sponsors.

Match Makers

Its annual summits match businesses and philanthropists with nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations to solve global issues including education, disease prevention and the empowerment of women and girls. Since 2005, the CGI has secured more than 2,100 commitments matching businesses and nonprofit programs affecting the lives of more than 400 million people in 180 countries.

Other donors to Clinton’s foundation in 2011 include Pfizer Inc., Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) Co. and foundations tied to Anheuser-Busch (ABI), and Bank of America (BAC), which have each given between $500,000 and $1 million during the past decade.

To contact the writer on this story: Patrick Cole in New York at pcole3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff in New York at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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