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Philanthropy: A Deluge of Wealth

Richest Charity

Food for the Poor, Coconut Creek: The Christian relief organization is active in 17 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranks it the largest charity in Florida, one of the top 10 nationally and the largest international relief group based in the United States. Some 90% of donations are in goods, not cash. Forbes ranks it as the sixth-largest receiver of private support, as well as the largest such recipient in Florida.

Celia Farris was a queen of the Palm Beach social scene for decades, donating heavily to a slew of causes and leading charity fundraisers following the 1985 death of her husband, industrialist Victor Farris. The year after he died, she established a foundation. But it was only last year that it came into big money following Celia Farris’ death in 2011, when it inherited a portion of her estate. The Celia L. and Victor W. Farris Foundation debuted at No. 41 with $76 million in assets on the Florida Philanthropic Network’s list of the largest foundations in Florida.

Non-profits across Florida are looking for similarly big things in the coming years. The philanthropic network, whose 95 members include corporate giving programs, family foundations, independent foundations and nearly all of the state’s community foundations, later this year will release its first analysis of the intergenerational transfer of wealth coming in the next 10 to 50 years. The hope is that it prepares Florida non-profits to pursue that wealth. “We support all giving,” says David Biemesderfer, president and CEO of the Florida Philanthropic Network. “We hope people always think about giving in Florida when it’s appropriate to do it.”

Some have estimated the wealth transfer in the next 10 years could be as high as $322 billion. There’s wealth in the marquee locations — Fisher Island, Palm Beach, Isleworth and Ponte Vedra — but also in rural Florida in large holdings of timberland, mining and agricultural interests that will be passing to the next generation.

Top 10 Richest Florida Foundations

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Miami - $2 billion

Publix Super Markets Charities, Lakeland - $556 million

Ted Arison Family Foundation USA, Miami - $446 million

The Batchelor Foundation, Miami Beach - $311 million

Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Jacksonville - $264 million

Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, Miami - $255 million

The Patterson Foundation, Sarasota - $230 million

Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Foundation, Miami - $212 million

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Jacksonville - $211 million

Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Venice - $210 million

Source: Florida Philanthropic Network, 2011 data

Florida's Biggest Community Foundations

Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Venice - $210 million

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County - $199 million

The Community Foundation in Jacksonville - $164 million

The Miami Foundation - $152 million

Community Foundation of Tampa Bay - $149 million

Source: Florida Philanthropic Network, 2011 data

Richest Gifts (2012)

» Delores Barr Weaver, wife of Wayne Weaver, former owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars, donated $50 million to the Community Foundation of Jacksonville, which was the largest donation by a Florida resident to any cause in 2012, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

» The late Mary N. Porter, daughter of the business partner of the founder of the Mrs. Smith’s pie company, bequeathed $43.9 million to the Community Foundation of Broward.

» Stamps Family Charitable Foundation pledged $32.5 million to the University of Michigan’s art and design school. E. Roe Stamps co-founded Boston private equity firm Summit Partners; his wife, Penny Stamps, graduated from Michigan with a design degree.

» Edward L. Baker, chairman of Florida Rock Industries until Vulcan Materials bought it in 2007, pledged $25 million to Davidson College, his alma mater, for student financial aid.

» Christine E. Lynn, widow of Lynn Insurance founder Eugene Lynn, donated $25 million to the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis.

» Paychex founder Thomas Golisano gave $20 million for the Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

» Developer Martin Z. Margulies donated $20 million to Lotus House, a Miami refuge for homeless women  and infants.