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Billionaire Givers

Houston billionaires figure prominently on Forbes' America's 50 Top Givers list

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John and Laura Arnold billionaires Houston
John and Laura Arnold took no. 12 with $204.4 million in donations. Johan and Laura Arnold Foundation/NPR.org
020, Rice University Centennial gala, October 2012, Bob McNair, Janice McNair
Bob and Janice McNair landed at no. 29 with $50.3 million in giving. Bob McNair, Janice McNair Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
George P. Mitchell head shot
The late George P. Mitchell gave $39.5 million in 2012 to rank 43rd. TAMUTimes.TAMU.edu
MFAH grand gala October 2012 Rich Kinder, Nancy Kinder
Rich and Nancy Kinder gave away $23.6 million  in 2012 for the no. 50 slot. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
John and Laura Arnold billionaires Houston
020, Rice University Centennial gala, October 2012, Bob McNair, Janice McNair
George P. Mitchell head shot
MFAH grand gala October 2012 Rich Kinder, Nancy Kinder

Several Houston business leaders and philanthropists made their way onto Forbes' newly-released America's 50 Top Givers list, further solidifying the city as one of the most philanthropic in the nation. 

Taking the No. 12 slot, John and Laura Arnold lead the pack of local billionaires with more than $204 million in 2012 charitable donations. The former Enron wunderkind and his wife made national headlines during October's government shutdown when they pledged $10 million to reopen federally-funded Head Start services.

Arnold left energy trading for philanthropic work and the couple gave away 7.2 percent of their total wealth last year. The hefty percentage of giving places them among "top givers" like duty free magnate Chuck Feeney and hotelier William Barron Hilton, who respectively donated 15 and 10 percent of their wealth in 2012.

Houston Texans owner Robert McNair and his wife Janice landed at No. 29 with $50.3 million in giving, while noted energy CEO Richard Kinder and his wife Nancy donated $23.6 million to earn themselves the No. 50 slot.

Woodlands founder and fracking legend George Mitchell, who died age 94 in July, gave nearly $40 million in charitable donations during 2012 to rank 43rd.

Topping this year's Forbes list are Bill and Melinda Gates, who donated a staggering $1.9 billion dollars through their respected Gates Foundation. Warren Buffet follows closely behind with $1.87 billion in 2012 donations, while George Soros, Mark Zuckerberg and the Waltons round out the top five.

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