LookToTheStars.org is excited to announce that our partners at the Giving Back Fund have announced their fourth annual Giving Back 30, a list of celebrities who have made the largest donations to charity according to public records.

The organization has ranked Oprah Winfrey as this year’s top giver, replacing last year’s number 1, Paul Newman. Oprah is reported to have donated over $40 million to education and women’s and children’s programs in 2009 – the most recent year financial information was available.

Following Oprah on the list were autor Nora Roberts, who gave away $4.45 million to literacy causes through her Nora Roberts Foundation, and Meryl Streep, who donated $4 million to the Arts.

Others on the list include Jamie Gertz, Barbra Streisand, Alec Baldwin and Oscar de la Hoya.

The Giving Back Fund is the premier philanthropic resource for the sports and entertainment communities. The Fund encourages philanthropy from high-profile individuals and the general public, offering the resources and support celebrities need to confidently give back to their communities.

To compile the most accurate rankings, The Giving Back Fund culled media reports of charitable giving by sports and entertainment professionals; reviewed PF-990 tax-forms; contacted more than 250 publicists, attorneys, agents, agencies, and managers for information about their clients; polled more than 150 charities known for their celebrity associations; and contacted all of the major sports leagues.

The Giving Back Fund did not include grants made by foundations in the list so as to avoid counting the same funds twice – once when the donor gave money to a foundation and again when the donor decided on a beneficiary for that money. The Giving Back Fund did not calculate giving as a percentage of the celebrities’ income because there are no public records documenting income. Re-directed income from sponsorship and merchandising deals to charity made by a celebrity was also not reported as it is not available to the public.

Donations to private foundations are disclosed in public documents. However, donations to public charities are not publicly disclosed and therefore may not be reported in the Giving Back 30.

“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.

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