msnbc.com
updated 1/4/2010 11:39:43 AM ET 2010-01-04T16:39:43

Charities had less to cheer about in 2009, judging by a Chronicle of Philanthropy tally of giving by the nation's wealthiest Americans.

The 10 single biggest gifts donated by Americans in 2009 totaled just $2.7 billion, compared with $8 billion in 2008 and more than $4 billion in 2007.

Topping The Chronicle's list of was a $747 million donation the Haas family, headed by 91-year-old John C. Haas, an heir to the Rohm & Haas Company fortune, gave to the William Penn Foundation in Philadelphia, for programs to benefit the Philadelphia region.

Haas' parents, Phoebe and Otto Haas, created the foundation in 1945.

The second-biggest gift was from the investment managers Stanley and Fiona Druckenmiller who provided $705 million to their Druckenmiller Foundation, in New York. The money will be used to support medical research, education, and antipoverty programs, according to The Chronicle.

The third-largest gift was a $350 million payment Bill and Melinda Gates made to their foundation for construction of a new 900,000-square-foot headquarters in Seattle.

Below is a list of Americans who donated the most in 2009, as compiled by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. For more information, visit the Chronicle's "Facts & Figures” page.

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