Features: Philanthropic 50

LEADING BY EXAMPLE: See who made this year’s list of most charitable Washingtonians. 

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Annette and Ted Lerner with David Rubenstein. All three billionaires are on the Philanthropic 50 List. (Photo by Tony Powell)

No issue exemplifies the Washington Life community – the people we proudly feature monthly in this magazine – than our annual Philanthropic 50. Although we would never call the list definitive – because our community boasts so many generous givers, including many who prefer to remain anonymous – we are humbled and honored to highlight the contributions of the 50 benefactors you’ll read about on our 2015 list.

Whether they were born into wealth or have earned their money on their own, they have made the act of giving an important part of their lives and have set an example for us all. They not only give, they care passionately about the many causes they support.

In May, self-made billionaire Dwight Schar, founder of homebuilder NVR Inc. and part owner of the Washington Redskins, and his wife Martha, gave $50 million to Inova Health System to establish a cancer research center. This generous gift was the largest ever to a medical facility in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In our exclusive interview with them, Dwight Schar told us that the gift was personal because he knows all too well that with age comes the greater likelihood of cancer. “Now,” he says, “is the time to make a difference in the lives of our generation and beyond.”

We remain cognizant of the fact that not all giving has to be on a grand scale to have significance. While those on our Philanthropic 50 list may lead the pack when it comes to large gifts, “there are numerous smaller donors for whom philanthropy is a part of their DNA,” says Barbara Harman, president and editor of the “Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington,” the annual giving guide of vetted, local charities that serve the region. Last year, these donors used the catalogue to give over $3 million to community-based non-profits on the front lines of education, human services and the arts – gifts that ranged in size from $10 to $100,000.  “Collectively,” says Harman, “they, too, are a significant part of the local philanthropic scene.”

See the full list below:

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