Oprah Winfrey is the most charitable celebrity – by a huge margin – giving away more than $40 million primarily through the Oprah Winfrey Foundation for causes including education and programs for women and children, according to a national philanthropic group.
Novelist Nora Roberts came in second, donating $4.45 million to the Nora Roberts Foundation to support literacy in underserved communities, followed by actress Meryl Streep, who gave $4 million to the Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts.
These contributions were made in 2009, the most recent year financial information was available, according to The Giving Back Fund, which compiled the celebrity list.
"There are many generous celebrities, but when you can top a list of celebrity philanthropists three out of four years, as Oprah has, that is saying something,” said Marc Pollick, president of The Giving Back Fund, which creates and professionally manages charitable foundations and other philanthropic programs for entertainers, athletes, business entrepreneurs and corporations.
For its data, The Giving Back Fund culls media reports and tax forms and speaks to publicists, agents and others close to the celebrity, but it does not count pledges or promises to donate or donations to public charities, which are not publicly disclosed.