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Facebook's Zuckerberg Digs Deep, Tops Philanthropy List

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Facebook (FB - Get Report) CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated almost $1 billion to charitable causes in 2013, topping The Chronicle of Philanthropy's ranking of the 50 donors who gave the most to charity.

Zuckerberg, 29 year old, and Chan, 28, gave $992.2 million to charitable causes, propelling them to the top of the philanthropic list, up from second place in 2012. The San Mateo, Calif.-based Silicon Valley Community Foundation was the primary beneficiary of the couple's giving, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

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Energy magnate George Mitchell, who died last year, was second on the list, with a bequest of around $750 million via his Cynthia and George Mitchell foundation, while Nike (NKE) co-founder Phil Knight and his wife Penelope came in third with a $500 million donation to the Oregon Health and Science University Foundation.

Former New York mayor and Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg took fourth place on the list with a $452 million donation to a range of non-profits and programs to help city governments around the world. John Arnold, founder of hedge fund Centaurus Energy, and his wife Laura, donated $296.2 million via their John and Laura Arnold Foundation and a "notable gift" to the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund.

In addition to Zuckerberg and his wife, the tech sector was well-represented in the top ranks of American philanthropists. eBay (EBAY) founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam took seventh place on the list with donations totaling $225 million, while Qualcomm (QCOM) co-founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife Joan were in eighth place with donations of $221.1 million. In ninth place, Google (GOOG) co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of genetic testing company 23andME, gave $219 million to charitable causes.

Just outside the top 10 list, Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Paul Allen was in 11th position with donations of $206 million.

Here's a list of the top 10 donors:

  1. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan - $992.2 million
  2. George Mitchell - $750 million (bequest)
  3. Philip and Penelope Knight - $500 million
  4. Michael Bloomberg - $452 million
  5. John and Laura Arnold - $296.2 million
  6. Charles Johnson - $250 million
  7. Pierre and Pam Omidyar - $225 million
  8. Irwin and Joan Jacobs - $221.1 million
  9. Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki - $219 million
  10. Jeffrey Carlton - $212 million (bequest)

The top 50 list shows that the wealthy donated $7.7 billion to charitable causes in 2013, a 4% increase from 2012. The Chronicle of Philanthropy cited last year's stock market surge for the increase in giving, although the transfer of wealth between generations has also been touted as a possible reason for the upswing in donations.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

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