Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

Top 10 private foundations led by wealthy individuals

Top 10 private foundations led by wealthy individuals

Wealth intelligence analysts Wealth-X has published a list of the world’s largest private charitable foundations led by (living) ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals.

Private wealth and large private foundations are of course likely to go together, but the list is useful if only for putting names and a total value to this select band of philanthropic organisations powered by individual or family wealth.

An ultra high net worth individual is defined by Wealth-X as someone having $30 million and above in assets.

Scale of UHNW-founded private foundations

Wealth-X reports:

•  the top 10 on the list have combined total assets of $83.1 billion (equivalent to 29.7% of the combined net worth of the UHNW individuals who established them)

•  over 5,000 around the world

•  they have total assets of $560 billion, equivalent to 19.4% of combined net worth of the UHNW individuals who established them

•  most are in the USA, followed by UK, Canada, Mexico, and Hong Kong

•  in the past year, these foundations granted $45 billion, representing 8% of their total assets

Top 10 private foundations

The list, not surprisingly, is headed by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with total assets of $43.4 billion. Indeed, it dominates the list in that it accounts for more than half of the combined assets of the 10 charitable foundations on the list.

Non-US private foundations

There are four charitable foundations in the top 10 that are located outside the USA.

In second place on the list is the Li Ka Shing Foundation, based in Hong Kong. It was founded in 1980 by Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-Shing, and now has $8.1 billion in assets.

Li refers to his philanthropic foundation as his “third son”, and he has pledged one third of his assets to it.

The other top private foundations outside the USA are:

• the Sulaiman Bin Abdul-Aziz Al Rajhi Endowments (Saudi Arabia)

• the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (UK)

• and the Carlos Slim Foundation (Mexico).

You can view the top 10 private foundations list (PDF) on Wealth-X.


Photo: lembi /


 • You won’t be surprised that Bill & Melinda Gates top the latest list of the world’s 10 wealthiest couples.


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

Get free email updates

Keep up to date with fundraising news, ideas and inspiration with a weekly or daily email. [Privacy]

* We do not share your email or personal details.
" />