10 biggest US foundations and what they do

Recently, Americans have expressed sympathy for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and the Moore, Okla., tornado by contributing to their respective funds.

Charitable giving in the United States is making a comeback. Although individual donations fell with the onset of the Great Recession in 2007, they began to increase again in 2010 with $209 billion given. That rose to $217 billion in 2011, according to USA Today.

What are the 10 biggest foundations in the United States? Here they are in ascending order, based on their assets, along with a little bit about what social problems each addresses.

Gus Ruelas/Reuters/File
Bill Gates, the co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, takes part in a panel discussion on "Investing in African Prosperity" at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., in May 2013. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest in the US, with $34.6 billion in assets.

10. Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation - $5.3 billion

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., has $5.3 billion in assets.

First up to bat is the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in Palo Alto, Calif., which seeks to “creat[e] positive outcomes for future generations” through environmental conservation, science, and patient care. The foundation is the youngest of the group, being established in 2000 by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore and his wife, Betty. With $5.3 billion in assets, according to the Foundation Center, the foundation is a grantmaker in addition to operating five initiatives: the Andes-Amazon Initiative, the Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative, the Marine Conservation Initiative, the Marine Microbiology Initiative, and the Wild Salmon Ecosystems Initiative. The foundation also considerably funds the California Institute of Technology in nearby Pasadena, Calif., along with the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope to be built on the summit of the Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii.

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