WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (August 4-10. 2014)

August 24th, 2014


Investigating the intersection of politics, lobbying and public policy at RepublicReport.org. Does Senator Vitter Really Think Cancer Prevention Groups and Wildlife Nonprofits Are Part of a Nefarious Cabal?” By Lee Fang. Nation. August 10, 2014. Louisiana Senator David Vitter made headlines on conservative websites in the last few days by releasing a report called “Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA.” Below the lengthy title is a report that claims breathlessly that environmental and public health foundations are part of “a close knit network of likeminded funders, environmental activists, and government bureaucrats,” a cabal responsible for spreading “bogus propaganda disguised as science and news to spread an anti-fossil energy message to the unknowing public.” The report goes on to list groups such as the American Lung Association and the Union of Concerned Scientists as “agenda-driven far-left elites” obsessed with using “secretive backroom deals and transfers” to hide their agenda from the public. To shine a light on these organizations, the Vitter report details annual budget numbers and board membership lists scrubbed from annual tax forms that these nonprofits, like any nonprofit, are required to publish. Though the report scolds the nonprofits as untrustworthy and elitist, there’s virtually no information in the report that details anything they have done wrong. Rather, Vitter and his staff appear to disagree with the shared policy goals of these nonprofits, which include combatting global warming as well as reducing cancer-causing pollutants from the air and water. If there is a conspiracy afoot, as eluded to in “Chain of Environmental Command,” perhaps Vitter himself is involved. In 2009, Vitter co-sponsored the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act, legislation to require several federal agencies to work together on a comprehensive plan for reducing lung cancer mortality. The American Lung Association, one of the groups targeted by the Vitter report as a purveyor of “bogus propaganda,” helped pass the legislation, which was signed into law last year. Or what about the RESTORE Act, which funds coastal restoration and economic recovery projects along the Gulf Coast using fines generated from the 2010 BP oil spill? The legislation was supported by the Environmental Defense Fund, the Nature Conservancy, the National Audubon Society and the National Wildlife Federation. All four groups were named in Vitter’s report as members of the pernicious “Club of Billionaires.” Vitter regularly boasts that he was a champion of this environmental group-backed legislation, which was signed into law in 2012. A request to comment from Vitter’s office was not returned. The change in tone from Vitter corresponds closely to his new perch as the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, a position he secured last year. Since 2013, Vitter has positioned himself as a close ally of the fossil fuel industry, attempting to block the confirmation of the Environmental Protection Agency administrator and going so far as to proclaim, “God bless the Koch brothers.” Fossil fuel companies have leaned on congressional Republicans to block new environmental regulations. But with little influence within the Obama administration and without control of the Senate, lawmakers close to the industry have lashed out at public health advocates and scientists. Just as Vitter is now targeting NGOs, the GOP on the House Science Committee has begun subpoenaing scientists that have researched air pollutants, a move widely condemned by observers. [For full text of this report, go to http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=8af3d005-1337-4bc3-bcd6-be947c523439].

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (August 4-10. 2014)

August 12th, 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 (August 4-10. 2014)

August 11th, 2014


The Custom-Made ‘Super PAC’.” Editorial. New York Times. August 4, 2014.

Investigating the intersection of politics, lobbying and public policy at RepublicReport.org. Does Senator Vitter Really Think Cancer Prevention Groups and Wildlife Nonprofits Are Part of a Nefarious Cabal?” By Lee Fang. Nation. August 6, 2014.

S.F. billionaire Tom Steyer ranks at top of political donors; Tom Steyer gave more than $20 million to political candidates and causes in the 2013-14 election cycle.” By Carla Marinucci. San Francisco Chronicle. August 7, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (August 4-10. 2014)

August 11th, 2014


Met Opera’s Books to Undergo Financial Review; Independent Financial Analyst Will Assess the Company’s Fiscal Situation.” By Jennifer Maloney. Wall Street Journal. August 4, 2014.
Related stories:
Metropolitan Opera Forecasts ‘Significantly Larger’ Deficit This Year.” Wall Street Journal. August 5, 2014.
Let’s Talk About Risk at the Metropolitan Opera.” New York Times. August 7, 2014.
Union Trouble Isn’t the Met’s Only Problem; The cavernous Metropolitan Opera House is all too grand for music in the 21st century.” Opinion. By Joseph Horowitz. Wall Street Journal. August 8, 2014.

Isn’t There a Better Way? A hearing to decide the fate of the Corcoran Gallery of Art.” By Lee Rosenbaum. Wall Street Journal. August 5, 2014.
Related story:
Closing arguments presented in plan to break up Corcoran Gallery.Washington Post. August 7, 2014.

Emily Rafferty’s Not-So-Still Life at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Leaving the Met After Almost Four Decades.” By Ralph Gardner Jr. Wall Street Journal. August 7, 2014.

Ahoy vey! Lighthouse Museum to open, 16 years later; National Lighthouse Museum on Staten Island will get a ceremonial launch Thursday, even though it still needs $200,000 to finish renovations.” By Theresa Agovino. Crain’s New York Business. August 6, 2014.

Amistad audits released after long delay; legislators call for AG probe; The Freedom Schooner Amistad in port in New Haven.” By Mercy A. Quaye. New Haven Register. August 6, 2014.

New Foundation Will Support, and Commission, American Music.” Bh Allan Kozinn. New York Times. August 8, 2014.

Fire for Selling Its Art; Censured Delaware Art Museum Plans to Divest More Works.” By Deborah Solomon. New York Times. August 10, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (August 4-10. 2014)

August 11th, 2014



D.C. charter school educates parents alongside children.” By Michael Alison Chandler. Washington Post. August 4, 2014.

State Board OKs Charter’s Sept. 15 Opening.” By Julia Zorthian. New Haven Independent. August 4, 2014.


VA Says University of Phoenix Campus Is in Full Compliance; California Agency Had Found San Diego Campus Enrolled Too Many Veterans in Certain Programs.” By Ben Kesling. Wall Street Journal. August 6, 2014.


Assault case shocks elite St. Paul’s school; Assault case has elite St. Paul’s examining school’s culture; News of the allegation has left students horrified and questioning its spring rite.” By Evan Allen. Boston Globe. August 8, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (August 4-10. 2014)

August 11th, 2014


Group Earns Oil Income Despite Pledge on Drilling.” By Justin Gillis. New York Times. August 4, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (August 4-10. 2014)

August 11th, 2014


Charity cruises: enjoy yourself while giving back.” By Fran Golden. USA Today. August 6, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (August 4-10. 2014)

August 11th, 2014


Hospital Mergers in the New York area Bring Cost FearsHospital Mergers Bring Cost Fears; Concerns Arise About Cost and Changes in Care.” By Josh Dawsey. Wall Street Journal. August 5, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (August 4-10. 2014)

August 11th, 2014


Nonprofits Provide Jobless Men With a Fitting for a Second Chance.” By Rachel Swarns. New York Times. August 4, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (August 4-10. 2014)

August 11th, 2014



Child abuse recommendations ignored.” By Henrietta Cook and Jane Lee. Sydney Morning Herald. August 6, 2014.


221 mln yuan donated for SW China quake: Ministry.” Xinhuanet.com. August 6, 2014.


Gary Lineker: Fifa corruption allegations are ‘nauseating’; Ex-England striker Gary Lineker says corruption allegations around Fifa are “nauseating”, and has also criticised the role of its president Sepp Blatter. Fifa is investigating claims of wrongdoing relating to the decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup.” BBC News. August 4, 2014.


India ranked No. 8 on global list of multimillionaires; The latest wealth index by New World Wealth has ranked India 8th in the global rich list, below countries such as the US, China, Germany and the UK.” By Kounteya Sinha. Times of India. August 6, 2014.

2013 record for cadaver organ donation equalled.” Times of India. August 7, 2014.


Charity jobs: five things to consider before applying; Recently graduated or looking to move into the charity world? From starting points to selling your skill-set our inside experts share their top tips: • Moving to a charity was the best decision I ever made; • ‘Charities need to take risks with recruitment’; • Live Q&A: moving your career into the voluntary sector.” By Aimee Meade. Guardian. August 5, 2014.

13 ways to protect your NGO from hacking and surveillance; Internet security easily slips down the to-do list, but following our panel’s tips could protect you from a cyber catastrophe.” By Anna Leach. Guardian. August 5, 2014.

How Amnesty International took over dating app Tinder; As part of their women’s rights campaign, Amnesty International took a risk and left the power in the hands of the people – regardless of whether they swiped left or right: • How charities can use Snapchat; • 10 things your charity needs to know about social media; • Five things about Gen Y that charities need to know.” By Caroline Easter. Guardian. August 6, 2014.

The good causes of the famous ‘benefit themselves more than the charities’;
Research says star names do little to raise public awareness of campaigns
.” By
Emily Dugan. Independent. August 8, 2014.

Co-operative Group sets outs radical reform plans; Proposals broadly follow Lord Myners’ recommendations, apart from plans to allow three Co-op members on the board.” By Julia Kollewe and Jill Treanor. Guardian. August 8, 2014.

How much power should a charity patron like Tony Blair have? The former PM is accused of having an ‘inescapable’ presence at his foundation. But is that a good thing or bad? • Blair lambasted by former employee over role in charity; • ‘Employers need to get their talented staff on charity boards’; • ‘Charities need to do more to track governance performance‘.” By Asheem Singh. Guardian. August 8, 2014.