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Nonprofits Working on Racial Justice and Poverty See Windfalls From Rich Donors

Maria Di Mento and Ben Gose

Created 02/22/2021

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Charities have long urged the ultrawealthy to look beyond the nation’s largest universities and medical centers in their giving — and in 2020, billionaires answered the call. In an unusual year featuring a pandemic, a recession, a racial reckoning, and deep political polarization, America’s richest donors looked further afield than they ever have before, bestowing transformative gifts on food banks, historically Black colleges and universities, and organizations that serve the poor and the homeless.

The seven donors who gave the most last year all made large contributions to help those harmed by the pandemic and its economic impact. Many of those donors, along with others among the Chronicle’s Philanthropy 50 ranking of the Americans who gave the most, also gave generously to community-based organizations, often led by people of color.

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