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Suburban Detroit Foodbanks Strain to Serve Middle Class
Jul 13, 2009; Philanthropy News Digest | Demand on government and nonprofit agencies in Michigan has increased as capital takes to the hills. This Foundation Center article describes the rise as “unprecedented,” as more first-time recipients, members of the middle class, are applying. —James David Morgan

Accelerator closes, lets its 10 workers go
Jul 10, 2009; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Pittsburgh’s McCune Foundation-funded “Social Innovation Accelerator” has announced that it is going out of business (and laying off all of its 10 staff), just days after its staff were at the White House program on social innovation, clearly hoping to be part of the new Obama Administration program. The PPG story makes the announcement sound a little strange. Though the staff have all been laid off and the website is down, the six-year-old Accelerator’s closure was announced “with the hope to relaunch with a new mission and perhaps a new name.” The Accelerator board chair didn’t blame McCune’s grant retrenchment (McCune lost a huge amount of portfolio value in the market, though significantly due to its heavy concentration in National City Bank stock, one of the nation’s most troubled financial institutions), but acknowledged that “it’s fair to say that [the recession] did cause us to look at the model.” So is there something to be learned here, beyond the public relations language of “relaunching” and “new mission” about what works and doesn’t work about social entrepreneurship in a recession? Rick Cohen

The go-getters become the go-givers
Jul 10, 2009 Financial Times | Barclays Wealth has discovered that high end givers are keeping up their charitable giving despite the recession. The Barclays survey (of people they’ve named “go-givers”) found that “they would rather do away with new luxury cars, hiring staff, eating out and holidays than stop donating to favoured philanthropic causes.” Rick Cohen

Fiorina failed to register business, foundation
Jul 9, 2009; San Francisco Chronicle | Carly Fiorina, the ousted Hewlett-Packard CEO, was considered one of the brighter lights in John McCain’s losing presidential campaign. But you have to wonder when it is revealed that her oft-mentioned “Fiorina Foundation” doesn’t exist, at least as a tax-exempt grantmaking organization, and her nonprofit, Fiorina Enterprises, has the somewhat dubious charitable purpose of helping “Fiorina structure speaking engagements and appearances while providing the public with information about her activities.” Perhaps Fiorina doesn’t take a tax exemption for her foundation’s charitable giving, maybe she simply refers to the giving of her and husband as a foundation when it is simply their household’s charitable donations, but it does sound a bit odd for her to refer to her personal giving as a philanthropic institution. If there is a Fiorina Foundation, she might be well advised to get the IRS on the horn and get the alleged purported philanthropy registered. A nonprofit that is structured to facilitate her speeches?  It sounds a little short on the public purpose. She should know better. She’s listed as a board member of other legitimate 501(c)(3) organizations: Vital Voices Global Partnership (along with actress Sally Field and philanthropists Vicki Sant and Debbie Dingell), Business Executives for National Security, the National Symphony Orchestra Association, and the Ford Theatre Society. There is no Fiorina Enterprises or any other nonprofit Fiorina anything listed on Guidestar. McCain relied extensively on Fiorina for advice on economics during the campaign. Fiorina might want to seek out some advice regarding what nonprofits are, where they should register, and how they should be run. —Rick Cohen

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