America's Top Philanthropists Annual list tracks most generous of 2009; Bill and Melinda Gates are 3rd By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Feb 8, 2010 12:39 PM CST 10 comments Comments Bill and Melinda Gates came in at #3 on Slate's list. (©World Economic Forum) (Newser) – The recession took a bite out of charitable giving last year, but some very wealthy, very generous people kept their checkbooks open. Slate delivers its annual list of the 60 biggest donors in the country, who together came up with $4.2 billion in new commitments to charity last year. The top four: Stanley and Fiona Druckenmiller: Gave $705 million to their foundation, which supports medical research and poverty-fighting causes. John Templeton: Put another $573 million to his foundation, which supports research into the relationships between science and religion, and to promote free enterprise. Bill and Melinda Gates: Gave $350 million to help their foundation construct a new headquarters. They declined to say how much of the $3.3 billion they pledged in 2004 was disbursed in 2009. Michael Bloomberg: The New York mayor donated $254 million to 1,358 nonprofits. Other big names: George Soros (No. 6, $150 million), Oprah Winfrey (No. 25, $41.4 million), and Ted Turner (No. 57, $13.2 million).