Bill and Melinda Gates visiting with a young malaria patient in Mozambique. Jeff Christensen / Reuters
Bill and Melinda Gates visiting with a young malaria patient in Mozambique. Jeff Christensen / Reuters

Top three charitable foundations

Stichting INGKA Foundation

History: founded in 1982 by Ingvar Kamprad, the Swedish billionaire and founder of Ikea, this foundation is based in the Netherlands. "INGKA" is a contraction of the founder's name, while "Stichting" is the Dutch word for foundation.

Endowment: US$36 billion (Dh132.2bn)

Activities: the foundation owns INGKA Holding, a private Dutch company based in Leiden, the Netherlands. Although the group's profits are spent on investments, the fund says it donated $61 million to charitable causes in 2010. Its purpose is to promote and support innovation in the field of architectural and interior design.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

History: originally founded as the William H Gates Foundation in 1994 by Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, this organisation shifted to its current title when his wife, Melinda, joined the cause in 1999.

Endowment: $35.1bn

Activities: based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation aims to enhance health care and reduce extreme poverty in the US and around the world. The organisation says it spends at least 5 per cent of its assets each year, amounting to more than $1.5bn. In 2006, Warren Buffett donated approximately $30bn worth of Berkshire Hathaway shares to the cause.

Wellcome Trust

History: this foundation was first established in 1936 to administer the fortune of Sir Henry Wellcome, the pharmaceutical mogul and founder of the Burroughs Wellcome & Company. It's the largest non-governmental source of funds for biomedical research in the UK.

Endowment: $22.9bn

Activities: from its headquarters in London, Wellcome Trust seeks to achieve considerable improvements in human and animal health. Its major initiatives include maximising the health benefits of genetics, understanding the brain, combating infectious diseases and investigating development, ageing and chronic disease.

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