According to the yearly list of the top 50 charitable donors, 2011’s top spot is occupied by a woman who has been dead for five years. Heiress Margaret Cargill, who passed away in 2006, gavestcok worth a total of $6 billion to two separate charitable organizations in 2011. The reason for this delay is rather complicated, though it involves her status as an heir to one of the nation’s largest privately owned companies.
Cargill consistently ranks as either the first or second largest private company in the nation. In 2011 the agricultural company had an estimated revenue of well over $100 billion. Cargill produces agricultural related products, such as food products and fertilizers.
Ms. Cargill died without leaving behind any children, and upon her death directed that her entire wealth should go to the two charitable foundations she specified: the Anne Ray Charitable Trust and the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation. Her gift did not pass to these organizations until 2011 because she gave it as personal shares in the family company, which could not be liquidated until 2011. The remaining money will not pass to the organization until 2013.
Still, Ms. Cargill’s gift is far above everyone else on the list of top 50 donors for 2011.