WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 21-27, 2014)

July 28th, 2014

Hauser Institute for Civil Society, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard University

The nonprofit sector — the universe of associations, civil society, philanthropy, and voluntary action — is the most rapidly growing and changing organizational domain in the world.

Once considered an adjunct of government, over the past half century nonprofits have taken on many of the tasks of government and play key roles in the process of public governance, not only as sources of policy and vehicles for advocacy and political mobilization, but also as providers of a wide range of public services.

Because nonprofits operate in virtually every industry and in many jurisdictions — global, national, state, and local –, it is extraordinarily difficult to track significant the emerging issues and trends that affect them. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that press coverage of nonprofits is fragmentary and often shallow and because scholarship is highly specialized and balkanized.

Through weekly global surveys of major newspapers, periodicals, broadcast media, and on-line news sources, this blog brings to readers’ attention important stories and will, through commentaries, link those news accounts to pertinent scholarship in order to offer in-depth understanding of important emerging issues and trends. The blog will also take note of scholarly books and articles of potential significance to practitioners, policy makers, and other thoughtful readers.

Using Nonprofit News & Comment

Blog entries appear as “Weekly News Summaries” — compilations of news article headlines. Each entry includes a link to the original source and the full text of the story. Because of the on-going monetization of on-line newspapers and other media, full texts may not be available for all stories.

Stories relating to the United States are organized topically by type of organization or activity. International stories are organized by country and, in certain instances, by topic (such as “Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal” and “Sustainable Development”). All stories are archived by topic and date.

Contact Us

Comments or questions about Nonprofit News & Comment should be directed to Peter Dobkin Hall, Senior Research Fellow, Hauser Institute for Civil Society, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard University.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 21-27, 2014)

July 28th, 2014


Philanthropists Target Democracy for ‘Saving.’ Watch Out; Under a new high-minded guise, big foundations are pursuing their usual goals of government by elites.” Opinion. By James Piereson. Wall Street Journal. July 24, 2014. What is the proper role of philanthropy in our democracy? “Savior” seems to be one answer—to judge by a spate of articles and reports from academia and the nonprofit sector. “How Philanthropy Can Help Fix Democracy” and “Philanthropy Must Help Heal the Breakdown in Democracy” were the titles of two recent opinion articles in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. “Healthy Democracy Needs Philanthropy,” was another one in the Huffington Post. “Philanthropy’s Vital Role in Democracy” appeared in The NonProfit Times. The group Philanthropy Northwest recently put out a report called “Philanthropy and the Renewal of Democracy: Is It Time to Step Up Our Game?” So what is wrong with democracy and how do these philanthropists hope to save it? What will “stepping up” their game mean for the rest of us? It’s best to start by taking a look at the philanthropic record. Leaders in the philanthropic world believe that, unlike politicians or business leaders, they have no ideological or financial agenda beyond advancing the public interest. In their view they stand above the political fray and are thus uniquely situated to represent the interests of everyone. This assumption is manifestly untrue. Major foundations since at least the early 1960s have been deeply involved in the country’s most contentious political debates—and they have pursued an obvious, politically liberal, ideological agenda. In the 1960s, the Ford, Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations created demonstration projects that led to the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, public television and radio, and federal support for public housing. In 1967 and 1968, the Ford Foundation, in alliance with liberal reform groups, tried to reorganize New York City’s public schools by setting up community control boards with authority to hire and fire teachers in local schools. What followed should have been foreseen. The community boards, composed largely of black parents and activists, clashed with the United Federation of Teachers, whose members were mostly Jewish. The UFT called a series of city-wide strikes in protest against the dismissal of its members. The experiment poisoned politics and race relations for decades. In the 1970s several large foundations backed the nascent environmentalist and feminist movements. Several of the most influential advocacy and litigation groups, such as the National Organization for Women, the National Council of La Raza, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, began and grew through the financial assistance of major liberal foundations such as Ford, Rockefeller and Carnegie. The Pew Charitable Trusts and several other foundations have pushed campaign-finance reform for more than a decade. There are three conclusions to be drawn from this history. First, nearly all of these initiatives have called for more taxing, spending and regulation by the federal government. Second, they circumvent the traditional political process by taking decisions from elected officials and placing them in the hands of judges, regulators and bureaucrats. Third, they encourage narrowly focused organizations around particular programs, issues and demographic groups. The political agenda has been long on advocacy, confrontation and litigation, and short on building consensus and finding solutions that make sense to a majority of voters. And what about today? Gary Bass and Katherine Blair of the Bauman Foundation are worried about the gerrymandering of voting districts. “In most states,” they write in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, “the districting process is largely controlled by elected officials who stand to gain—or lose—from the way the lines are drawn.” The authors express concern that the processes by which district lines are drawn “lack essential transparency and participatory mechanisms, leaving the public out in the cold while politicians and special interests divvy up communities behind closed doors in ways that further their own agendas, whether party or personal.” Foundations must help build a “comprehensive vision that links redistricting with the need to make changes in campaign finance and the election system itself.” Robert Gallucci, president of the John and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, supports an even broader agenda of “change.” In the Chronicle of Philosophy, he writes that “the malaise of representative democracy in this country is not only a betrayal of American ideals and principles. It has real and negative effects on our economy, the health of our institutions and our standing in the world.” He complains that “our public debate is shrilly partisan, grounded too often in ideology rather than evidence.” Such contentiousness is preventing us from finding solutions to “complex issues like climate change, criminal justice, health, and human rights.” Campaign-finance reform is high on his agenda, Mr. Gallucci writes. But “we also call on our colleagues . . . to look closely at how money in the political system is limiting progress in their important work on the environment, housing, education and justice, just to name a few.” The “new” agenda of the big foundations sounds suspiciously similar to the old one. The old buzzwords—advocacy, confrontation and change—and preoccupations are still active in their new agenda. They want to take money out of politics and politics out of redistricting. They want to turn advocates, experts and judges loose to rewrite social and educational policies, much as their predecessors tried to do in the 1960s and 1970s. They are aware that the voters will have little say in these deliberations. Foundation officials today complain about stalemate, interest-group influence and ideological politics. But their predecessors played a large role in fostering voter distrust of government—because voters do not know who is in charge, and every program operated by the federal and state governments is protected by an advocacy group backed up by a litigation and public-relations strategy. This strategy played a large role in fracturing the national consensus. The efforts of current foundation leaders will not succeed in rebuilding it.
Mr. Piereson is president of the William E. Simon Foundation.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 21-27, 2014)

July 28th, 2014


Must-have accessory for House candidates in 2014: The personalized super PAC.” By Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger. Washington Post. July 21, 2014.

Silicon Valley’s Libertarian revolution.” By Darren Samuelsohn. Politico.com. July 21, 2014.

The ‘Inside Politics’ Forecast: Adelson’s $100 million dollar bet? CNN’s John King and other top political reporters empty out their notebooks each Sunday on “Inside Politics” to reveal five things that will be in the headlines in the days, weeks and months ahead.” CNN. July 21, 2014.

How Silicon Valley Millionaires Stole Progressivism; In the battle against displacement in San Francisco, defenders of democracy are denounced as reactionaries, while agents of capital are lauded as revolutionaries.’” By Zelda Bronstein. Nation. July 22, 2014.

Chamber of Commerce Lost Its Way in Right Turn.” Op-ed. By Joe Nocera. New York Times. July 26, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 21-27, 2014)

July 28th, 2014


Corcoran Gallery critics to present case against breakup deal in court; Opponents of the reorganization of the Corcoran Gallery of Art will be allowed to present their case against the deal in court.” By David Montgomery. Washington Post. July 22, 2014.
Related story:
Foes of Corcoran Takeover Plan Gain in Court.” New York Times. July 22, 2014.

Revenue, labor woes have Met Opera singing the blues; Its high-def theater broadcasts fail to boost the company’s sluggish finances.” By Theresa Agovino. Crains New York Business. July 21, 2014.
Related stories:
Metropolitan Opera Leader Warns of Lockout; Peter Gelb Set a Likely Date of Aug. 1 in Letter to Union Employees.” Wall Street Journal. July 24, 2014.
Met Opera Prepares to Lock Out Workers.” New York Times. July 24, 2014.
Labor Conflict May Lock Out Met Opera Workers.” All Things Considered/National Public Radio. July 24, 2014.
Orchestra Faults Met Chief’s Record as a Lockout Looms.” New York Times. July 26, 2014.
War Of Words At Met Opera May Signal Shutdown.” Morning Edition/National Public Radio. July 26, 2014.

When a Museum’s Big Dreams Prove Too Ambitious.” By Patricia Cohen. New York Times. July 23, 2014.

New York City Asks Cultural Groups to Help Enhance Municipal IDs.” By Robin Pogrebin. New York Times. July 24, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 21-27, 2014)

July 28th, 2014



Louisiana parents, teachers, charters sue to get the Common Core back on track.” By Lyndsey Layton. Washington Post. July 23, 2014.

Charter Schools, Money And Test Scores.” All Things Considered/National Public Radio. July 22, 2014.

Elm City Charter Eyed For Futuristic “Conversion”.” By Melissa Bailey. New Haven Independent. July 24, 2014.

Judge allows 2 charter schools to remain open.” By Stephen Ceasar and Teresa Watanabe. Los Angeles Times. July 26, 2014.


DeVry Says New York Is Investigating Marketing Practices; Attorney General’s Office Probes Possible Violations of False Advertising Laws.” By Michael Calia. Wall Street Journal. July 20, 2014.

As a teacher, I fought predatory for-profit schools from the inside.” By Nina M. Flores. Washington Post. July 24, 2014.

Review & Outlook: Obama’s Corinthian Kill; How regulators used accusations to ruin a for-profit educator.” Wall Street Journal. July 26, 2014.
Related story:
Heald, other Corinthian-owned colleges continue to recruit students as company closes.” San Jose Mercury-News. July 24, 2014.
Veterans Advocacy Group Puts Corinthian Colleges On Blacklist.” All Things Considered/National Public Radio. July 27, 2014.


AFSCME parts ways with the United Negro College Fund over Koch brothers money.” By Laura Clawson. Daily Kos. July 26, 2014.


Online School for Girls puts focus on connection, collaboration.” By Sara Hayden. Los Angeles Times. July 21, 2014.

Town Wins Transfer Of Islamic School Tax Case to New Britain.” By Marcia Chambers. New Haven Independent. July 2, 2014.


Why Are Teachers Unions So Opposed to Change? As a former union leader and a lifelong Democrat, I am deeply troubled by their rhetoric and strategy.” Opinion. By Antonio Villaraigosa. Wall Street Journal. July 21, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 21-27, 2014)

July 28th, 2014


NY Foundling finds space in Long Island City; The 145-year-old nonprofit will lease space in a Queens building where the city’s Department of Human Resources, many of whose clients also use the Foundling, is the main tenant.” By Daniel Geiger. Crain’s New York Business. July 21, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 21-27, 2014)

July 28th, 2014


An Idiot’s Guide to Inequality.” Op-ed. By Nicholas Kristof. New York Times. July 24, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 21-27, 2014)

July 28th, 2014



Temple in Brazil Appeals to a Surge in Evangelicals.” By Simon Romero. New York Times. July 25, 2014.


Number of ultra rich to rise to 3.43 lakh in 3 years: Report.” Times of India. July 24, 2014.

Centre rushes to SC to allow 80 private medical colleges admit students.” Times of India. July 25, 2014.


Tapping entrepreneurialism: MIT spinout Sanergy targeting clean sanitation for all of Kenya (and beyond).” By Kareva Saleh. Boston Globe. July 21, 2014.


10 things your charity needs to know about social media; From uncovering secret formulas and engaging ageing audiences, to trend-setting and sleep-tweeting, here are our experts’ tips on social media for charities: • 10 years on: what role will social media play? • Five social media charity campaigns you need to know about; • How social media can change the face of fundraising.” By Aimee Meade. Guardian. July 21, 2014.

Anti-West rants of Trojan Horse teachers” By Dnncan Gardham and Greg Hurst. Times of London. July 22, 2014.
Related story:
Birmingham schools ‘feel like the Balkans’, says Labour; Liam Byrne says city needs to move on after ‘Trojan horse’ affair and tells Nicky Morgan to not repeat ‘divisive rhetoric’ of Gove.” Guardian. July 22, 2014.
Schools face new curbs on extremism after Birmingham Trojan horse affair; Education secretary Nicky Morgan announces reforms after Peter Clarke’s damning report on Muslim extremist infiltration.” By Patrick Wintour. Guardian. July 22, 2014.
Report Cites ‘Aggressive’ Islamic Push in British City’s Schools.” By Katrin Bennhold. New York Times. July 23, 2014.
How to tame a Trojan horse; Extremism in Birmingham schools poses a conundrum for reformers.” Economist. July 26, 2014.

How to build a successful fundraising strategy from scratch; Make sure your message is clear, target your donors and encourage them to stay with you – Angela Cluff explains how to set up a fundraising strategy: • Ebay and online retail for charities – top tips; • Five things about Gen Y that charities need to know; • 5 tricks to make a big impact with your small charity.” By Angela Cluff. Guardian. July 23, 2014.

Children’s cancer charity under investigation; Charity commission freezes bank accounts of Families Against Neuroblastoma, which raised money for treatment abroad.” By Sarah Boseley. Guardian. July 23, 2014.

“Fighting the battle: charities working in conflict zones – in pictures; As war plagues the world, we highlight how charities are helping victims, whether it be through martial arts, providing sanitation or teaching new skills.” By Aimee Meade, Callum Majek Ohara, and Charlotte Seager. Guardian. July 25, 2014.

Tony Blair Faith Foundation is anything but ‘mysterious’.” Guardian. July 25, 2014.

Cameron’s Big Society in tatters as charity watchdog investigates ‘cronyism’ ; Exclusive: Cameron’s Big Society in tatters as charity watchdog launches investigation into claims of Government funding misuse; The organisation was given at least £2.5 million of National Lottery funding and public-sector grants despite having no record of charitable activity.” By Oliver Wright. Independent. July 26, 2014.
Related story:
Big Society Network under investigation over ‘funding misuse’; Watchdog examining whether charity set up to lead David Cameron’s initiative used funds to pay debts of linked company.” Guardian. July 27, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 21-27, 2014)

July 28th, 2014


S.F.’s nonprofit workers feel the squeeze.” By Marisa Lagos. San Francisco Chronicle. July 21, 2014

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 21-27, 2014)

July 28th, 2014


IRS official: Lois Lerner email trail may not be cold; The IRS has previously said no copies of Lois Lerner’s correspondence exist anymore.” By Rachel Blade. Politico.com. July 21, 2014.
Related stories:
House takes punitive action against all IRS executives regardless of guilt.” Washington Post. July 23, 2014.
IRS chief says agency no longer probing missing e-mails.” Washington Post. July 24, 2014.
Politics and Policy: Hunt for Missing IRS Emails Resumes; Backup Tapes Scrutinized for Possible Lost Data.” Wall Street Journal. July 24, 2014
The ObamaCare-IRS Nexus; The supposedly independent agency harassed the administration’s political opponents and saved its health-care law.” Wall Street Journal. July 25, 2014.

Give Us Your Donors, or Else; California and New York try to chill political speech.Wall Street Journal. July 23, 2014.

“Politics and Policy: Paul Ryan to Propose Sweeping Consolidation in Antipoverty Pitch; Plan Will Include New Work Requirements, More Accountability and Efficiency, Congressman Says.” By Damian Paletta. Wall Street Journal. July 24, 2014.
Related story:
Paul Ryan: An opportunity to cut poverty; Let’s re-conceive the federal government’s role in providing a safety net for the poor.” Opinion. By Paul Ryan. USA Today. July 24, 2014.

Corporations are people. So what if people were corporations?” Opinion. By Catherine Rampell. Washington Post. July 25, 2014.

What the Hobby Lobby Ruling Means for America.” By Binyamin Appelbaum. New York Times. July 27, 2014.