By Leslie Lenkowsky
Although Warren Buffett's pledge of most of his fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was, by far, the biggest gift of 2006, large-scale philanthropy is no longer as rare as it once was.
Billion-dollar foundations are much more common — today the United States has more than 50 — than they were just 20 years ago, when only a few were as well-endowed. Moreover, during 2006, at least 14 groups (besides the Gates Foundation) received pledges of $100-million or more from individuals. Before the mid-1990s, it was unusual to see more than a handful of such gifts each year, if that many."