July 11, 2014

Corporate Responsibility

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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Big Donor Presses for Audit of Donations to Joplin’s Tornado Funds

JoplinBig corporate donors, individuals in the U.S. and around the world, and even Persian Gulf nations responded to the devastation wrought by tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri three years ago. Now, a politically connected donor wants an audit of how donations were used by the Joplin schools; he hints that something might have been amiss.

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The Dangers of Marrying Your Corporate Sponsor and Taking Its Name

RingsNaming rights are often a part of big gifts, but what do you do when your corporate sponsor disappears under another identity?

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Utility’s “Opt-Out” Scheme Uses Customer Funds as Charity Contribution

ElectricThe North Georgia Electric Membership Corp., which serves seven counties, has a program that rounds all electrical bills up to the next dollar. In March, it “opted in” all of its customers. Not all of them are happy with the cooperative’s  giving scheme.

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First Nations and Corporate CSR: In Need of Shared Assumptions

First NationsCalgary’s Impact Society helps corporations create working relationships with First Nations based upon new and different fundamental assumptions.

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Keep a Wary Eye on Sallie Mae

Sallie MaeIf you have a federally issued student loan, you probably deal with Sallie Mae (or a Sallie Mae spinoff called Navient) for your payments and servicing. Young professionals in the nonprofit field probably know Sallie for a number of dubious practices, and the Justice Department knows it for its recent violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, but that isn’t stopping Arne Duncan’s Education Department from placing Navient on a shortlist for a new potentially massive loan-servicing contract.

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Socially Responsible Investment Important for Charities Big and Small

NewsWriting for Forbes India, two experts in social investment note the socially responsible investment options available to religious organizations. With investments, they write, there can be no such thing as investment neutrality.

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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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Social Enterprise: Two Churches Open Grocery in Raleigh Food Desert

bananasNPQ is excited about the alternative enterprises popping up all over the country. In this case, it is a grocery sponsored by two churches and aided by a Whole Foods market.

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Celebrating “Small Batch” Social Enterprise

BeesThis article compares two different stories of social enterprise— the heroic and the “small batch”—and outlines the different values that they represent.

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Google Discloses the White-male-ness of its Workforce; Vows to Do Better

 

GoogleIn response to growing pressure about the apparent lack of diversity in the workforce of the high-tech sector, Google has taken the step of revealing just how justified that concern really is.

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Mid-Sized Businesses Often Fail to Connect the Dots on Corporate Philanthropy

CSRMid-sized companies, which represent about one-fourth of American businesses, are actively engaged in corporate philanthropy, largely with local charities. Yet even as these companies move beyond “checkbook philanthropy” to broader involvement in causes, a report suggests many have not yet figured out how to reap the benefits of employee engagement in their communities.

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Part of an Unbalanced Breakfast: Oxfam Exhorts Big Food to Do More on Climate Change

CornflakesThe new Oxfam report predicts that the costs of staple grains like corn and rice will double by the year 2030, with half of that increase due to climate change. The largest food and beverage manufactures have made paper promises, but need to commit to reducing emissions and speaking out on the environmental dangers ahead.

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Punish J.P. Morgan or Help Detroit: A Justice Department Conundrum

DetroitIs $13 billion sufficient punishment for JPMorgan Chase for its acknowledged role in selling securities backed by toxic subprime mortgages? One nonprofit doesn’t think so, but JPMorgan has raised the ante by pledging $100 million to help struggling Detroit.

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Scout Challenges Amazon: Funding Boy Scouts Violates Anti-Discrimination Policy

AmazonHow long will it take for the Boy Scouts to bring that other foot into this century? A 17-year-old pushes Amazon to recognize that the Boy Scouts, as an organization that discriminates against gays, does not deserve to be included in AmazonSmiles.

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More Divestment: Wal-Mart and Private Prison Operators

Most of the nation’s press attention to divestment campaigns has focused on the recent fossil fuel campaign on university campuses and the very contentious debates around divestment from firms doing business connected to the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank. Actually, divestment campaigns are showing strength against two other targets—Wal-Mart, because of its labor policies, and private prison operators, because of their promotion of policies of increased incarceration, particularly of immigrants and persons of color.

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DirecTV/AT&T Newest Players in the Mega-Monopoly Games. Where’s the Innovation?

DirectcAs we hear of the impending acquisition by AT&T of DirecTV for $49 billion, we wonder at the anti-capitalist bent of it all.

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Reynolds American Makes Grants to Surprisingly Diverse Recipients

RAIt’s time for corporations to reveal exactly when and what they are donating to political nonprofits such as 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations and 501(c)(6) trade associations. The tobacco giant Reynolds American has done so voluntarily, but it’s time to make these disclosures mandatory.

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World’s Largest Coal Company Says Clean Coal Can Cure Energy Poverty

CoalIn the wake of the White House’s climate change report, WWF Europe demonstrates one logical strategy for nonprofit action—challenging statements that look dubious if not completely erroneous, like Peabody Coal’s argument that “clean coal” will solve the problem of energy poverty.

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When Anonymous People Dominate Billions in Tax-Exempt Resources

NewsA writer for Businessweek uncovered a nest of very low profile donors of hundreds of millions of dollars, operating behind layers of companies, lawyers, and philanthropic advisors. Is the use of millions or billions in money that would otherwise be in the public domain by private individuals with little or no public review a good practice?

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About those (Ahem!) “Benefit” Corporations

TapsWhat does brewing beer have to do with benefit corporations? This guy rips the lid off!

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Does Waltons’ Philanthropy Inoculate Them against Criticism of Walmart?

WaltonsToday’s question is a corollary of a question asked last week: Should charities take donations from individuals perceived as unsavory, or money earned less than honorably?

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NBA Slams Donald Sterling; Will the NFL Do the Same to Dan Snyder?

ClippersNot all old rich guys are like octogenarian Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, but some younger rich owners of sports teams, particularly 49-year-old Dan Snyder, might start looking over their shoulders at the precedent of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s maximum penalties applied to Sterling due to his overt and unrepentant racism.

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Sterling’s Comments Cause Clippers Sponsors to Withdraw

RedbullWhat do the corporations State Farm, CarMax, Virgin America, Kia, and Red Bull have in common? They have all, within the past day, withdrawn from sponsorships and marketing activities with the L.A. Clippers.

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Graham Crackers and Diversity: A Formula for Surviving and Thriving in Evolutionary Tension

CrackersHoney Maid Graham Crackers was recently faced with hate mail as a result of a marketing campaign that uses images of diversity. Did it bend to pressure? Did it crumble?

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Krugman - Public Policy Has Bought Into Skills-Gap Myth

KrugmanNobel Prize winner Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times that public policy (and, implicitly, nonprofit practice) focused on the notion of a “skills gap” is misguided, counterproductive, and a strategy of blaming the worker.

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Make General Motors Pay!

GMIt’s hard to buy what General Motors CEO Mary Barra had to say in her televised apology and Congressional testimony. In its wake, GM has recruited disaster lawyer Kenneth Feinberg to help the company find a negotiable way out of its culpability for more than a dozen deaths due to its decade-long refusal to fix a faulty ignition switch in its cars.

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OKCupid vs. Mozilla on Marriage Equality

EichAn interesting stakeholder revolt is occurring around Mozilla over its choice for CEO.

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Dan Snyder’s Redskins Foundation Chief Ran Nonprofit that “Wasted” $1m in Federal Funds

MoneyA Special NPQ Investigation: Dan Snyder has tapped Gary Edwards as CEO of his new Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, but why? Edwards’ track record in producing documentable outcomes is alarming. Is the whole endeavor a blind?

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World Vision Backs Off Same-Sex Marriage Stance

NewsTwo days after making the announcement, World Vision has reversed its policy regarding the suitability of employees in same-sex marriages in the face of a massive outcry from donors.

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