July 12, 2014

Foundations

The Philanthropic Problem with Hillary Clinton’s Huge Speaking Fees

ClintonsThe lucrative six-figure speaking fees being paid to Hillary Clinton for speeches at universities have attracted much criticism—too high, too much money being paid to a presidential candidate. Our concern is different: The speaking fees being paid to Clinton (which she says she turns over to the Clinton Foundation) constitute the “repurposing” of donations and tax payments to colleges and universities for the Clinton family’s own philanthropic agenda and might in some cases be purchases of recognition and face time with an expectation of future favors should Hillary Rodham Clinton become the second President Clinton.

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Foundation Head Urges More Philanthropic Consistency in Approach to US Ed. System

AbstractIn a recent conversation with Philanthropy News Digest, the Spencer Foundation’s Michael McPherson elaborated on his view of the underlying importance of research in the field of education and the need for more communication among funders about what is and isn’t working.

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Zuckerberg’s Attempt at Immigration Reform Appears Stalled

ZuckerbergIt appears the efforts of Zuckerberg’s FWD.us to appeal to both Democrats and Republicans on the matter of immigration reform have caused the political group to stall out.

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Husock on Crony Corporate Philanthropy

RegThe Manhattan Institute’s Howard Husock and this newswire writer have crossed ideological swords at many times over the years and will likely to do so many times more in the future. But Husock’s column in Forbes criticizing “crony philanthropy” as practiced by corporate foundations resonates with us.

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Moneyball Philanthropy – Is the Work of the Nonprofit Sector Like Baseball?

MoneyballShould charitable contributions be tied to a metric system similar to the one often used to build baseball teams?  Are we moving from strategic philanthropy to “Moneyball Philanthropy”?

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Profile of an Unusual Major Donor

TreeThe Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut has just been made the beneficiary of an $8 million gift which will be used to protect animals and the environment. It is the largest gift the foundation has ever received by far and it came from a local man whose life style certainly did not reflect the wealth expected of a major donor. 

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“Who Owns the Art?” and Other Questions Lingering at the Intersection of Culture, Class, and Money

MOCAAs two nonprofit museums and their respective cities await the final results of mediation to resolve issues about ownership of the collections, one observer raises important questions that relate to North Miami, Detroit, and no doubt other places where minority populations sometimes have to fight to preserve access to cultural treasures.

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Municipal Bankruptcies Loom: Will Foundations Step Up for the Next Detroit?

MoneyIt may be hard to hear, but Detroit is in some ways very fortunate. The city has several large and creative foundations that were willing to come together to work on the city’s fiscal and overall community revival. Other nearly bankrupt cities don’t have the likes of Kresge, Ford, Mott, Kellogg, Knight, and Skillman to turn to for ideas, partnership, and resources.

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Legacy of a Failed Foundation Initiative: inBloom, Gates and Carnegie

SunflowerEarlier this year, NPQ wrote about inBloom, one of the more expensive failed foundation initiatives ever. With a Gates grant of $100 million, inBloom managed to get and lose a number of contracts with public schools in just 15 months. In so doing, they did the country a favor by motivating a left/right backed movement of parents who object to the indiscriminate placement of details about their children in a national database.

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Community Foundation CEO Steps Down After 20 Years and Leaves Ideas for the Future

LightsBefore Nancy Kieling accepted a job at the Princeton Area Community Foundation twenty years ago, she had never heard of a community foundation. In six months, she will leave behind an organization that has established strong community ties between donors and nonprofits that her successor will be charged with cultivating and expanding beginning January 1st.

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Grantmaking Focus

RWJFReflecting changes in healthcare delivery, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is moving away from medicine-centered program support and embracing community wellness efforts and the importance of allied health professionals. One challenge with the new focus on a “Culture of Health” is the increased difficulty in measuring success.

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Occupy Activists Pitch Lessons for Future Movement Building

125In the continuing flow of articles about the future of the Occupy movement, two Occupy activists think that the future is something like the Tea Party’s role in the Republican Party.

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United Way’s Weird Toilet Paper Drive

tpWould you rather your local United Way ran a toilet paper drive or decided what the funding priorities are for your region? Just asking.

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Lessons in Strategic Philanthropy: How To Do Things With Humans

HumansAlbert Ruesga, the CEO of the New Orleans Community Foundation, never holds back in his blog, White Courtesy Telephone, when he believes that something in philanthropy or among nonprofits is awkwardly awry. Here, he weighs in on the strategic philanthropy debate in his own inimitable way.

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Facing the Limitations of Scale in Philanthropy—Some Thoughts for Bill and Melinda Gates

WaterDespite the challenges of over-scaling, there is no need to despair so long as the Gates Foundation is willing to accede a modicum of control and share some responsibility for the ultimate distribution of its largesse. Buzz Schmidt shares grantmaking strategies Gates might attempt that would be at once highly effective and transformative for philanthropy.

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Ethical Dilemmas and the Really Big Bucks

RuthBig grants are definitely getting bigger, what with all the billionaires running around—and the goals for capital campaigns are getting much bigger, too.

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The Wealth Gap and the Giving Recovery: Giving USA’s Latest Numbers

MoneyGiving USA’s 2014 report, which covers giving in 2013, shows that the giving recovery is progressing apace, but as with the larger economic recovery, where is all that money going?

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41ON41: A Foundation-Paid Infomercial about George H.W. Bush

NewsThere are no doubt lots of reasons to like and admire former president George H.W. Bush, who turned 90 last week. But CNN’s airing of “41ON41,” a program funded by the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, isn’t a documentary, but a foundation-financed infomercial.

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A New York Foundation Establishes Major Art Retreat in New Orleans

NOLA artRight after Hurricane Katrina, the New York–based Joan Mitchell Foundation started supporting artists in storm-ravaged New Orleans. It is now establishing a retreat for promising painters and sculptors.

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Occupy Protestors Win Biggest Suit Yet against NYC

OWSA settlement of nearly $600,000 has been made by the City of New York to resolve a lawsuit filed by Occupy Wall Street protestors arrested as they walked on a sidewalk in the East Village on New Year’s Day 2012. The suit claimed that police had acted unreasonably by arresting the protestors after asking them to disperse even while they did not allow them to do so.

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Why Was Simon Greer Fired from Nathan Cummings Foundation?

VacancyAfter announcing a major shift in its grantmaking from Jewish causes to income inequality and climate change, the Nathan Cummings Foundation is making another major shift: getting rid of the president and CEO it had hired to lead its new strategy.

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A Town Cuts Senior Programs; A Community Foundation Steps In

PuzzleHenderson, Nevada is cutting back on funding for senior programs—and the pressure is on philanthropy to make up the difference.

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Is Strategic Philanthropy Yesterday’s News?

HighwayAnyone who deals with philanthropy understands that part of the price of admission to the coffers of some foundations is a willingness to deal with philanthropic fads that are absolute one day and obsolete the next. Sometimes the constructs change with top leadership and sometimes they just wear themselves and us out, and wither away. Here Bill Schambra takes on the recent article, “Strategic Philanthropy for a Complex World” as one example of this syndrome.

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Serial Rapists Go Unidentified as Foundations Pony Up for Rape Kit Processing

Rape kitsIn Memphis, the Plough Foundation made a grant of $750,000 toward processing that city’s 30-year, 12,164-rape kit backlog, but it was dependent on assurances that the city would process every rape kit and it is structured to be the last dollar in.

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Why Skillman Foundation Joined Detroit’s “Grand Bargain”

DetroitThe Skillman Foundation believes that a more stable community and more financially stable retirees have a positive impact on Detroit’s children.

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Challenge Grants: A Mechanism for Double and Lasting Value

MoneySometimes it is worth acknowledging the tried-and-true mechanisms that work well in spreading philanthropy and gaining impact in its application. The humble challenge grant is one of our favorites!

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Hero Philanthropy a Dangerous Bet: Somaly Mam’s Story in Question

SMA Newsweek cover story examined the dramatic tale of sex slavery activist Somaly Mam and found it to be in some part untrue. What will happen to the foundation named for her, which she has now left, and when will philanthropy realize that cults of personality may not be serving it well?

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Sterling’s Racism Pays Off Big for Sports Team Owners

ClippersIf Donald and Shelley Sterling get to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, they will have enriched themselves immensely as a result of Donald’s racist rant to V. Stiviano. The increased vastly increased value of the Clippers suggests that the value of all other professional sports franchises will surge as well. This increase in wealth should not be pocketed but given by the owners to a fund to fight racism, whether that of the Sterling family or the overt and covert racism unfortunately still endemic in our society.

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Gates Foundation G4S Divestment Gives Activists a West Bank “Win”

G4SThe Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has quietly cut its investment in the massive British security firm, G4S. This might be a victory for one of the divestment movements currently on the national stage.

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White House: Interim Recommendations for My Brother’s Keeper Initiative

ObamaTo address the gaps between boys and young men of color compared to their non-minority counterparts in education, employment, health, and crime, the White House released the interim results of its My Brother’s Keeper initiative. It’s no surprise to us that the recommendations are just about all suggestions for replicating and expanding programs that have long been known and well tested, but in almost all cases, the recommended solutions will depend on private commitments by U.S. foundations, not on new federal funding.

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