Cargill heir top philanthropist of 2011

By Laurie Bennett

February 7, 2012 at 6:34am

Margaret A. Cargill, late granddaughter of the founder of Cargill Inc., was America’s most generous donor last year, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports.

Cargill, who never married, left about $6 billion to charity. She died in 2006, leaving her estate to two grant-making organizations - the Anne Ray Charitable Trust and the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.

Her name is just now reaching the top of the Chronicle list because of the complicated structure of her bequest and limits on how soon company stock could be sold.

Cargill Inc., an international conglomerate whose many products include animal feed, agricultural services and food ingredients, is privately held.

The heirs of company founder W.W. Cargill are known for keeping a low profile.

Margaret Cargill insisted that her gifts be anonymous during her lifetime, but said they could be disclosed after her death. The foundation web site calls her a “silent philanthropist.”

She was one of four grandchildren, the last survivor of the third generation. As the Muckety map above shows, the fourth and fifth generations are also in line to inherit portions of the vast family fortune.

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