Microsoft co-founder, Vulcan Inc. chairman

2004-08 Giving* $232 million

Allen’s $100 million brain science institute seeks to map the brain to help solve mysteries of neurological disorders. His foundation is a major funder of arts and cultural events in the Pacific Northwest, awarding more than $380 million to 1,300-plus diverse nonprofit groups to date. Other causes supported by the foundation include community development, social change, health and human services, and youth. For example, Allen has donated $25 million to the Allen Telescope Array, an innovative telescope for radio astronomy, and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science in Albuquerque for an exhibit that traces the history of the microcomputer and how it changed the way people live and work. Allen has also opened several non-profit museums in Washington State: the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum & Hall of Fame, and more recently The Flying Heritage Collection, a collection of rare World War II-era military aircraft.

*Based on public records and interviews with donors
Data: BusinessWeek, The Chronicle of Philanthropy and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University