10 Largest Nonprofits in the World

In order to improve public relations, many for-profit companies will make sizeable donations to charity. However, some organizations devote themselves entirely to the good of others, classifying themselves as nonprofits and putting all of their resources towards charitable causes. While these organizations focus on people rather than profits, they can still accumulate a surprising amount of wealth.

Just how wealthy can some of the largest nonprofits in the world get? Today we’ll be looking at 10 of the largest nonprofit organizations in the world as measured by their endowments, and learning a little bit about what defines each one’s mission.

  1. Kamehameha Schools

Endowment: $11.1 billion
Headquarters Location: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Year Founded: 1887
Founder: Bernice Pauahi Bishop

Kamehameha Schools
Source: wikimedia.org

This nonprofit was originally founded by Hawaiian princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, who was the last direct descendant of King Kamehameha I. Princess Bernice valued education and hoped that the nonprofit would help build a better future for the Hawaiian people. She left a gift of 375,000 acres of ancestral land upon her passing to be used for educational purposes. As a result, Kamehameha Schools is now the largest private landowner in Hawaii.

Did You Know?

In Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop’s will, alongside her donation of land, she required that the teachers at the school be Protestant.

  1. Lilly Endowment

Endowment: $11.7 billion
Headquarters Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Year Founded: 1937
Founder: Josiah K. Lilly, Sr. and sons

Lilly Endowment
Source: wikimedia.org

Serving mainly the state of Indiana and its local communities, Lilly Endowment operates under a mission statement strongly driven by the Christian faith. This nonprofit has extended grants to local colleges such as the University of Southern Indiana in order to provide students with more employment opportunities in the area.

Did You Know?

Lilly Endowment has recently extended a sizeable matching fund grant to the Brown County Community Foundation, in order to assist the causes of other local charities.

  1. Azim Premji Foundation

Endowment: $12 billion
Headquarters Location: Bangalore, India
Year Founded: 2001
Founder: Azim Premji

Azim Premji Foundation
Source: wikimedia.org

Azim Premji is a business tycoon, philanthropist, and the chairman of Wipro Limited. He founded the Azim Premji Foundation in order to spread universal, high-quality education that promotes equitable and sustainable living. The Azim Premji Foundation made it into first place on the India Philanthropy List for several years in a row.

Did You Know?

Despite being extremely wealthy, Azim Premji is well-regarded for his humble attitude and lack of extravagance.

  1. Stichting INGKA Foundation

Endowment: $12.7 billion
Headquarters Location: Leiden, Netherlands
Year Founded: 1982
Founder: Ingvar Kamprad

Stichting INGKA Foundation
Source: wikimedia.org

The Stichting INGKA Foundation, a sizeable nonprofit, works with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees under the name “IKEA Foundation”. IKEA’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, created the philanthropic Stichting INGKA Foundation as a savvy business move in order to spread the ideas of interior design while giving his company charity tax breaks.

Did You Know?

IKEA, as a nonprofit, falls under the parent company of Ingka Holding. In turn, Ingka Holding technically belongs to the Stichting INGKA Foundation. This structure allows IKEA to make non-taxable profits.

  1. Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Endowment: $13.5 billion
Headquarters Location: San Jose, California, USA
Year Founded: 2007
Founder: Nicole Taylor

Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Source: wikimedia.org

Initially formed by the merger of the Peninsula Community Foundation and Community Foundation Silicon Valley, this nonprofit focuses primarily on issues such as immigrant opportunity and integration, economic security, and education. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation also offers donor-advised funding, which allows recipients to choose where their grant money is donated.

Did You Know?

The Silicon Valley Community Foundation serves as a comprehensive center for philanthropy, conducting commission research and launching initiatives.

  1. Ford Foundation

Endowment: $12.4 billion
Headquarters Location: NYC, New York, USA
Year Founded: 1936
Founder: Edsel and Henry Ford

Ford Foundation
Source: wikimedia.org

Originally funded with bequests of stock in the Ford Motor Company, the Ford Foundation aims to reduce poverty and social injustice while promoting strong democratic values. The Ford Foundation generally invests in institutions and individuals that further social change alongside their support of progressive new ideas.

Did You Know?

The Ford Foundation recently hit a rough patch after taking on more projects than it could handle, and has been working to streamline its grant programs.

  1. Garfield Weston Foundation

Endowment: $12.6 billion (£9.7 billion)
Headquarters Location: London, UK
Year Founded: 1958
Founder: W. Garfield Weston

Garfield Weston Foundation
Source: wikimedia.org

Originally established in the UK by late Canadian businessman W. Garfield Weston, this nonprofit still operates in the UK and has a counterpart, the W. Garfield Weston Foundation, in Ontario, Canada. While many of the Garfield Weston Foundation’s grants go to churches, the foundation has stated that this is due to the benefits that religious institutions provide to communities, rather than any religious affiliation.

Did You Know?

Garfield Weston contributed financially to a number of humanitarian causes on a personal basis as well as through his nonprofit.

  1. Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Endowment: $22.6 billion
Headquarters Location: Chevy Chase, Maryland, USA
Year Founded: 1953
Founder: Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Source: wikimedia.org

Home to 29 esteemed Nobel Prize winners, Howard Hughes Medical Institute conducts research in 6 different areas of biological studies. In addition, HHMI has teamed up with the Associated Press to increase coverage of scientific and medical journalism.

Did You Know?

HHMI chooses to focus on people rather than projects, inviting universities and other research organizations to nominate individuals that could use additional resource to make substantial contributions to science.

  1. Wellcome Trust

Endowment: $33.7 billion (£25.9 billion)
Headquarters Location: London, UK
Year Founded: 1936
Founder: Sir Henry Wellcome

Wellcome Trust
Source: wikimedia.org

Wellcome Trust contributes the second-largest non-governmental set of funds towards medical research. This huge nonprofit co-founded the Human Genome Project, which is said to be the largest international collaboration ever undertaken in biology. Wellcome Trust is currently funding a PhD program for clinicians at University College London, which is welcoming applications even from outside the university.

Did You Know?

At Imperial College London, Wellcome Trust has put concerted efforts into training and development of better approaches to infection.

  1. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Endowment: $50.7 billion
Headquarters Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Year Founded: 2000
Founder: Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Source: flickr.com

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest nonprofit organization in the world. Bill Gates and Melinda are known not only for their extreme wealth, but for their generosity and philanthropy as well–the Gates Foundation donates around $1 billion every year. The foundation advocates education, health, sustainability, and good health for everyone. Bill’s philanthropic funds as a whole are geared towards helping the poor.

Did You Know?

When asked why he and his wife donate such high sums of money, Bill responded that he saw philanthropy as a basic responsibility of anyone with a lot of money at their disposal.

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