Biggest Donation Ever

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3. Super-Sized Philanthropy

As the fast food commercials tell us, this is a super-sized world. In 2006, that was especially evident in the philanthropic world, where the biggest charitable donations started with "b," as in "billion." First, Bill Gates announced he would retire from Microsoft to focus full-time on his $30 billion foundation. Then Warren Buffett announced he would give the Gates Foundation $37 billion, easily the largest charitable donation in history. In the fall, President Bill Clinton's Global Initiative raised $7.3 billion, which included a $3 billion donation from Richard Branson. But these tycoons aren't just throwing their money around--they want to know exactly where it's going. Call it performance philanthropy. These days, charitable organizations want to know who their money is helping and what the return on investment is. --Tara Weiss

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