Robert W. Wilson
Amount Given or Pledged 2002-2006: $449 million
Causes: Environment, wildlife conservation
Retired New York City hedge fund manager Robert W. Wilson enjoys art, but he still doesn’t know who made every single piece in his art-filled apartment overlooking New York’s Central Park. Get Wilson talking about environmental conservation, though, and he’s a font of information. He has donated money to organizations including The Nature Conservancy, World Monuments Fund, Environmental Defense, and The Wildlife Conservation Society over the years, but only recently formalized four carefully structured $100 million challenge grants with these groups. Wilson, 80, says he focused his money on environmental conservation because he wanted to “try and preserve things that, but for my money, might go away forever.” The amount of money he’s given away, at $500 million, is about equal to his net worth.