Giving by tech leaders tumbles

Bill Gates remained the top philanthropist in 2001, with a $2 billion gift to his and his wife's foundation--down from $5 billion in 2000. Only three tech bigwigs made the top 10.

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With the economy and stock market slumping in 2001, it's small wonder that donations to charities by leaders in the technology industry also fell hard.

The 10 biggest donors gave a total of $4.6 billion in 2001 to charities in the United States, a drop of more than 50 percent from the $11.07 billion given in 2000, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, remained the top philanthropist with a gift of $2 billion to endow the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2000, Gates, the world's richest man, gave $5 billion to the foundation.

Only three tech leaders were included in the list of the top 10 philanthropists in 2001, compared to five in 2000. Intel co-founder Gordon Moore was third on the list with a pledge of $300 million for the education and science programs at the California Institute of Technology. Bill Coleman, founder of BEA Systems, was fourth with a $250 million pledge to create a research institute at the University of Colorado.

In 2000, Moore was second on the list behind Gates with a $5 billion gift to endow the Gordon E. and Betty I. Moore Foundation. Last year's list also included James Barksdale, a former Netscape executive, who gave $100 million to establish the Barksdale Reading Institute at the University of Mississippi; Philip and Donna Berber, founders of CyBerCorp.com, who gave $100 million toward the operating costs of the foundation A Glimmer of Hope; and Michael J. Fitzpatrick, former chairman of E-TEK Dynamics, who gave $50 million for photonics research at Duke University and Stanford University.

The fortunes of most these tech leaders is tied to their company's stock, and almost all companies involved in the computer industry saw the value of their stocks tumble in 2001.