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U.S. House OKs Culture Budgets; Lobbyists Turn to Senate
Jun 29, 2009; ArtInfo | Friday’s House approval of $170 million budgets for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2010, is due in large part to arts lobbyists like Americans for the Arts, whose fight now moves to the Senate. James David Morgan

Jackson, Fawcett spur internet fraud
Jun 26, 2009; The Examiner| Very sad to see the multiple warnings about scam artists taking advantage of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett and even Ed McMahon under the guise of charity and philanthropy. Having mentioned Jackson’s charitable endeavors, such as they were, we take note here of Fawcett’s, which look much more creditable and legitimate. On the Examiner, Fawcett’s engagement in charitable fundraising for cancer research was an obvious one, but younger people might not remember her extraordinary activism on behalf of battered women—she was one herself.  Her television movie about Francine Hughes in “the Burning Bed” got lots of attention because Fawcett allowed herself to be seen as sweaty and bruised rather than as a pristine Charlie’s Angel. But the importance of the movie was not Fawcett’s fall from pin-up girl, but her commitment to do a tough picture about battered spouses—and to treat it seriously enough to circulate the script to various leaders of battered women’s programs and shelters (NPQ’s own Ruth McCambridge was one, she told us just the other day) to get their feedback on tone and content. The importance of the movie wasn’t her Emmy nomination and her escape from pin-up status, but her commitment to do something serious about women—and to do it seriously. The director of the picture makes the point here:  “I was directing her for the first time and her fearless commitment to going to the darkest places emotionally never wavered. She never hesitated when I took her to battered women’s shelters. To interview women with painful stories. And she never flinched when I described how we needed to take away her wonderful beauty and life force to make the film and role authentic.” It wasn’t just a short-term gig for her; she apparently served on the National Advisory Board of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. —Rick Cohen

L.A. County Jail condom distribution plan could be expanded
Jun 29, 2009; Contra Costa Times | L.A.’s Center for Health Justice has battled HIV rates among inmates through a free condom distribution program, whose expansion is now up for consideration.James David Morgan

Foundation Endowments Dipped in 2008, but Giving Rose
Jun 25, 2009; Chronicle of Philanthropy | We suspect that the value of most NPQ readers’ 401(k) funds dropped a bit more than foundation endowments, especially those typically larger foundations endowments managed by Commonfund (whose research institute conducted this study). Commonfund endowments have typically bettered market performance in good years and bad. Most of us waiting-to-retire-but-unlikely-to-ever-do-so workers don’t have Commonfund-type advisors moving our assets from traditional to alternative investments and back again. Nice of Commonfund to tell us that their foundations’ spending increased in 2008, but remember, that should have been payouts based on 2007 numbers, or more accurately, on 3-5 years of rolling averages up to 2007, when the market was up. Had their cumulative and average spending declined in 2007, that should have been a reason for the IRS to take a look-see. Rick Cohen

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