WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 7-13, 2014)

July 14th, 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 7-13, 2014)

July 14th, 2014


While this story is not about nonprofits as-such, it has important bearing on the ways ands the extent to which important issues bearing on nonprofits are covered. Despite the attention given by journalists and scholars to federal level legal, tax, and regulatory regimes, charities law, much of tax legislation, and significant charities oversight has historically been left to the states and, in recent years, decisions by state courts and state legislatures have, in important instances, diverged from federal doctrines on such matters as the criteria for tax-exemption. (See, for example, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s 1985 ruling in Hospital Utilization Project v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in which the justices declared “irrelevant”

the fact that HUP was ruled a nonprofit corporation exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. ß 501(c)(3) (Supp.1984). . . This fact is immaterial and not controlling since we are not bound by Federal determinations. . . ).

Keeping abreast of these trends requires media coverage of state houses, courts, and regulatory bodies. Sadly, as the Pew study suggests, the financially-stressed media find it increasingly difficult to maintain this responsibility. The consequences, in terms of our lawmakers and jurists knowledge of the law and the impact of the decisions they make on the legal and policy environments in which nonprofits have to operate, are not likely to be happy ones.

Pew Study Finds a Sharp Drop in Reporters at Statehouses; Pew Research Center Says 164 Statehouse Reporters Have Been Cut Since 2003.” By Christine Haughney. New York Times. July 11, 2014. The nation’s statehouses have lost more than one-third of the newspaper journalists devoted to covering legislative matters full time, according to a study released on Thursday morning by the Journalism Project at the Pew Research Center. The study, which surveyed all 50 statehouses, found a loss of 164 full-time newspaper reporters since 2003. The total number of full-time statehouse reporters dipped to roughly 300. The study defined these journalists as reporters who worked physically in the statehouses. At the same time, nontraditional news organizations added journalists at statehouses, including for-profit and nonprofit digital news organizations, ideologically driven publications and expensive trade newsletters catering to lobbyists. These outlets employ more than 120 full-time statehouse journalists. The study’s researchers said that the news outlets adding reporters typically offered their content to narrower audiences or were backed by partisan outlets. For example, these figures include journalists associated with organizations like the Alaska Budget Report, which charges $2,397 a year for a subscription. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which identifies itself as supporting free-market principles, is a major financial backer of many journalists in statehouses. Mark Jurkowitz, associate director of the Journalism Project and an author of the study, noted that the decline in traditional journalism at statehouses raised fears among most subjects interviewed for the study. “In numerous conversations with journalists, legislative leaders and other experts, the one sentiment expressed again and again was concern about the impact of a perceived decline in mainstream media coverage,” Mr. Jurkowitz said.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 7-13, 2014)

July 14th, 2014


A Climate Activist Bags Himself; Tom Steyer ruined the planet before he offered to save it.” By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. Wall Street Journal. July 9, 2014

Behind Harry Reid’s war against the Koch brothers.” By Kenneth P. Vogel. Politico.com. July 8, 2014.

Union severs ties with United Negro College Fund over Koch donation.” By Fredreka Schouten. USA Today. July 11, 2014.

Big money buys powerful friends: Why are Newt Gingrich, Joe Lieberman and Patrick Kennedy hanging with members of a terrorist cult?” By Hamid Babaei. USAToday. July 10, 2014.

Conservative donors stay the course against GOP establishment; Donors aren’t demanding their money back or questioning how it was spent.” By M. Scott Mahaskey. Politico.com. July 11, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 7-13, 2014)

July 14th, 2014


A Critic at Large: Stones and Bones: Visiting the 9/11 memorial and museum.” By Adam Gopnik. New Yorker. July 7, 2014

Not Over Till Overtime’s Due? Met Labor Strife Bares Secrets.” By Michael Cooper. New York Times. July 7, 2014.

Detroit Art Valued at Up to $4.6 Billion; New Value Is Sharp Increase Over Previous Estimate and Could Cause Problems for City in Bankruptcy Court.” By Matthew Dolan. Wall Street journal. July 10, 2014.

Elon Musk promises $1 million for Tesla museum.” By Doug Gross, CNN. July 13, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 7-13, 2014)

July 14th, 2014


Google fits Glass to five non-profits.” By Marco della Cava. USA Today. July 10, 2014.

Envisioning Profit in Environmental Good Works; Equity Firm Restores Louisiana Marshland to Earn Credits It Can Sell.” By John Schwartz. New York Times. July 13, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 7-13, 2014)

July 14th, 2014



Charters Catch On Fast in Newark; Parents Increasingly Look Outside District Schools.” By Leslie Brody. Wall Street Journal. July 7, 2014.

With New Partner, Charter Aims For Aug. Opening.” By Melissa Bailey. New Haven Independent. July 9, 2014.
Realted story:
Morrison Issues Plea For Charter Opening.New Haven Independent. July 10, 2014.

Guv Defends Charters, Calls For More Scrutiny.” By Melissa Bailey. New Haven Independent. July 11, 2014.


Review & Outlook: Obama’s Letters to Corinthian; How to destroy a for-profit college company without due process.” Wall Street Journal. July 7, 2014.
Related story:
Fair Game: Flunking Out, at a Price.” New York Times. July 13, 2014.


“Lessons of a For-Profit College Collapse.” Editorial. New York Times. July 9, 2014.


Private summer schools prompt debate on education inequality.” Los Angeles Times. July 13, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 7-13, 2014)

July 14th, 2014


Letter from San Francisco: California Screaming: The tech industry made the Bay Area rich. Why do so many residents hate it?” By Nathan Heller. New Yorker. July 7, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 7-13, 2014)

July 14th, 2014


Anthem Blue Cross accused of ‘fraudulent’ enrollment practices.” By Julie Appleby. San Jose Mercury-News. July 9, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 7-13, 2014)

July 14th, 2014


The future of Harlem Children’s Zone is in her hands; The new leader of the nonprofit has big plans and faces even higher expectations.” By Theresa Agovino. Crain’s New York Business. July 8, 2014.

Hampden woman serves community by recording history of rape response organization.” By Renee Ordway. Bangor Daily News. July 11, 2014.

D.C. family homeless shelter beset by dysfunction, decay.” By Justin Jouvenal, Robert Samuels and DeNeen Brown. Washington Post. July 12, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 7-13, 2014)

July 14th, 2014


The Financial Page: Moaning Moguls.” By James Surowiecki. New Yorker. July 7, 2014

Why Piketty’s Wealth Data Are Worthless; Private retirement plans rose to $12.4 trillion in 2012 from $875 billion in 1984. None of it is reported on tax returns.” By Alan Reynolds. Wall Street Journal. July 10, 2014.
Related story:
Thomas Piketty on the history of money; The modern Marx.” Economist. July 11, 2014.

Gini: the measure of inequality.” Marketplace/NationalPublic Radio. July 10, 2014

Donors Who Lavish Money on Elite Institutions Only Exacerbate the Wealth Gap.” By Pablo Eisenberg. Huffington Post. July 11, 2014.