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America’s 60 Most Generous Donors Named- Four From Real Estate Industry

Slate’s 2009 Most Generous list released

kb today released its annual Slate 60 list outlining the top 60 largest philanthropic donations in America in 2009 and compared to previous years, donations are (as everyone would suspect) down considerably and the top donor isn’t Oprah or Bill Gates.

We decided to analyze the list this year to see how generous leaders in the real estate sector despite the crumbling industry and was surprised to see that several people linked to the real estate industry made the list with their philanthropic efforts. Four made the list this year, two of whom gave more money than Oprah! Below is the brief about them, but we encourage you to read their full bios and the extent of their donations.

Number 7: Eli and Edythe L. Broad– Eli was the founding chairman of KB Homes and with his wife, they founded the Broad Foundations which support art, civic programs, education and medical research. They made the list this year by pledging $105.2 million to their foundations.

Number 8: J. Ronald and Frances Terwilliger– Ronald is the chairman of Trammell Crow Residential and they pledged $100 million to Habitat for Humanity.

Number 36: Bernard and Anne Spitzer– Bernard founded real estate development and management company, Spitzer Engineering and pledged $25 million to his alma mater, City College of New York to benefit its school of architecture for scholarships, fellowships and faculty research.

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Number 43: M.A. Douglas– founded real estate development company, Income Property Services, left $21 million to the University of California at Irvine Medical Center in his will (he passed in 2008). He was never a patient there but passed it on the way to work every day and the only stipulation was that the money benefit people in Orange County, CA, where most of his business was centered.

Do you think that there should be more real estate leaders on the list or do you think four is quite a few, given the terrible economy? Is there anyone you’re surprised is not on the list?

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Joe Loomer

    February 9, 2010 at 6:39 am


    Did the list also have companies listed by their donations?

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    • Lani Rosales

      February 9, 2010 at 9:56 am

      If you go to the list and click “Donor Bios” it says where all donations went, but it’s not listed in the reverse. Some donors gave major pledges to more than one cause I believe.

  2. Cindy Marchant

    February 10, 2010 at 8:27 am

    I do think there should be more. I am surprised that my company Keller Williams is not on the list. They are usually huge on donations and giving. I’ll have to look into that!

    It would be interesting to know from every Realtor say who makes more than $250,000 in commissions, what their charity level is. It’s hard sometimes not to be apathetic to the really big problems (i.e. Haiti, cancer, etc) because you might feel your one donation won’t make a difference. But, if you look at your donation as helping just one person, it takes on a different flavor. I hope 2010 finds all Realtors thanking their communities or even bigger causes with a healthy donation!

    • Lani Rosales

      February 10, 2010 at 9:54 am

      Cindy, Slate only looked at personal donations, not corporate donations- I’m sure KW would be on a corporate list, I’ll see if I can find one.

      I would be curious what mega producers donate too- all of the large producers here in Austin that I know personally are ridiculously generous with their money AND volunteer time, but I know not all cities are as philanthropic as Austin, so I don’t know what it’s like in the rest of the country.

  3. japhet zwana

    December 11, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    How can I contact these individuals with a donation request to our start up non profit?

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