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Famous Donations & Charitable Gifts

It's true that 'every little bit helps' when it comes to giving to charities, worthwhile causes and fund-raising, although some people have a little more flair when it comes to giving generously. Here are some examples of the most money raised and the most monies given.

Largest Single Private Charitable Donation

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, and his wife Melinda donated $6 billion (£4.2 billion) to their charitable foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in August 1999.

Most Money Raised By A Charity Run

The greatest recorded amount raised by a charity walk or run is Can$24.7 million (US$20.7 million, £9.1 million) by Terry Fox (1958–81) of Canada, who, with an artificial leg, ran from St John's, Newfoundland, to Thunder Bay, Ontario, in 143 days from April 12 to September 2, 1980. He covered 5,373 km (3,339 miles).

Most Lucrative Charity Sporting Event

The London Marathon, run annually through the streets of London, UK, since 1981, raises more money for charity than any other single sporting event in the world. £24 million ($35.8 million) was raised on April 16, 2000, the last year for which figures were calculated.

Largest Fundraising Charity

The Salvation Army, USA, has raised more funds annually than any other charity for eight consecutive years. In the year ending September 1999 it raised $1,402 million, the highest amount of money it has ever raised. Founded in the UK in 1865, the Salvation Army has expanded globally, with the US branch raising the highest funds. Today, new programs addressing contemporary needs have been established, such as disaster relief services, day care centers, summer camps, holiday assistance, services for senior citizens, hospitals and medical facilities, shelters for battered wives and children, family and career counseling, vocational training, and drug rehabilitation.

See the 60 largest American charitable contributions of 2002 as compiled by the Chronicle of Philanthropy including:

Walter H. Annenberg—a bequest of $1 billion worth of art to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a $375 million bequest and 392-acre estate to the Annenberg Foundation.

Herchel Smith—a $184.7 million bequest to Harvard and Cambridge universities and three other groups.

David A. Harrison III—a $122.5 million bequest to the University of Virginia at Charlottesville and Episcopal High School.

Courtesy of Guinness World Records