Report: Large charitable donations on the rise

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SEATTLE — Money donated by the nation’s most charitable people is starting to catch up with pre-recession giving, thanks in part to some very large bequests from a few donors.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports Monday in its annual report of the nation’s most generous people that the top 50 donors made pledges in 2011 to give a total of $10.4 billion. The donors gave a total of $3.3 billion in 2010, the smallest total since The Chronicle began tracking the biggest donors in 2000. A decade ago, the top 50 givers gave $12.5 billion.

Nineteen made big gifts to colleges, including 10 multi-million dollar gifts to universities that were not the donors’ alma maters.