The New York Times published a special section, “Wealth & Personal Finance,” in the May 21, 2009 edition of the paper. It contains several important items on charitable giving, including financial reporter David Cay Johnston’s “Smart giving in a troubled climate.”
“Investor-funded research could bring march of science to a standstill; As private concerns increasingly tread on the territory of academic researchers, the result could be secrecy, delay and the pursuit of quick financial returns.” By Michael Hiltzik. Los Angeles Times. May 25, 2009.
ARTS & CULTURE
“Rose closes – temporarily – but art lovers express anguish; Visitors fear for Brandeis museum’s holdings.” By Geoff Edgers. Boston Globe. May 18, 2009.
“Economic meltdown takes the funding out of festivals.” Patrick Walters. Boston Globe/ Associated Press. May 24, 2009. Although festivals like Boston’s annual tall ships event and Detroit’s Michigan State Fair bring thousands of visitors and millions of dollars to their host communities, financially-strapped states and municipalities are looking to them as sources of fees and are curtailing subsidies.
“Madoff Loss Hits Art Aid for Young in Israel.” By Daniel J. Wakin. New York Times. May 21, 2009. For decades, the America-Israel Cultural Foundation has been a major supporter of music in Israel. The loss of its $14 million endowment to Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme raises questions about its future.
“‘US scholars planning Islamic college.” By Rachel Zoll. Washington Post/Associated Press. May 17, 2009. A group of American Muslims, led by two prominent scholars, is moving closer to fulfilling a vision of founding the first four-year accredited Islamic college in the United States, what some are calling a “Muslim Georgetown.’” The institution hopes not only train Muslim religious leaders, but also teach students how to start American Muslim nonprofits.
“Harvard’s Role As a Nonprofit.” By Laura M Binger, John F Bowman, & Benjamin J. Oldfield. Op-ed. Harvard Crimson. May 21, 2009. Assessing Harvard’s response to the recession, student editorialists assert that the tax breaks that have enabled the university to amass its multi-billion dollar endowment bring responsibilities to the public. If Harvard fails to recognize these, they warn, its status as a nonprofit should be
“State Auditors Critical: Connecticut Student Loan Foundation Faces Multimillion-Dollar Deficits.” By Grace E. Merritt. Hartford Courant. May 21, 2009. Squandering funds on luxuries for its executives and board, the state’s student loan foundation draws criticism from auditors, who question its future viability.
“Brandeis Halts Retirement Payment.” By Tamar Lewin. New York Times. May 22, 2009. Buffeted by continuing losses, Brandeis University announced that it would suspend contributions to faculty and staff retirement accounts beginning in July. Until Brandeis’s announcement, the only institutions to repudiate their commitments to their employees were a handful of small Midwestern schools.
“Activist Financier ‘Terrorizes’ Bankers in Foreclosure Fight.” By James R. Hagerty & Ruth Simon. Wall Street Journal. May 21, 2009. Bruce Marks’s Neighborhood Assistance Corporation has emerged as “one of the loudest scourges of the banking industry in the post-bubble economy,” fearlessly taking on mortgage bankers and their companies and advocating for homeowners facing foreclosure.
A variety of media carried reports of the exposee of physical and sexual abuse of children in Ireland’s church-run orphanages over the past half century. These reports include:
“Survivors of Ireland’s Catholic-run workhouses angry that abusers were not named.” By Shawn Pogatchnik. Chicago Tribune/Associated Press. May 21, 2009.
“Report Details Abuses in Irish Reformatories.” By Sarah Lyall. New York Times. May 21, 2009.
“Irish Report Casts Harsh Light on Abuse by Catholic Church.” By Cassell Bryan-Low. Wall Street Journal. May 22, 2009.
“A Century of Looking the Other Way.” By John Banville. Op-ed. New York Times. May 23, 2009
“Donations to help Pakistan’s refugees reach $200 million 1.9m have fled as fight goes on against Taliban.” By Chris Brummitt. Boston Globe/Associated Press. May 22, 2009. At the behest of Pakistan’s government, which recently held a donors’ conference, governments and private charities have pledged generously to aid refugees displaced by Taliban insurgency.
“Opposition to anti-aid campaigner grows.” By William Wallis. Financial Times. May 22 2009.
Zambian economist and former investment banker, Dambisa Moyo, has emerged as an influential critic of development assistance programs with the publication of her book (co-authored with Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, Dead Aid: Why aid is not working and how there is a better way for Africa (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009). Jeffrey Sachs, Bob Geldoff, and other leading development aid advocates are mobilizing to oppose her message.
“Red Cross Workers Fight Staffing, Wage Changes In Contract Talks.” By Lynn Foan. Hartford Courant. May 22, 2009. Is Red Cross holding up negotiations nationwide in an attempt to “bust unions,” drive down wages, and worsen working conditions as unions claim? Unions in at least 11 other states are joining forces to protest Red Cross’s negotiating tactics.
“Google drops idea to buy newspaper.” By Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson and Chrystia Freeland. Financial Times. May 20 2009. Information giant Google after actively considering the purchase a newspaper or using its charitable arm to support news businesses seeking non-profit status, has had second thoughts.
“Charitable Misgivings; Student groups must fulfill their advertised commitments to charity.”
By Olivia M. Goldhill. Op-ed. Harvard Crimson. May 20, 2009. Opinion piece observes that “Harvard students are often thought of as possessing those characteristics that forge prominent careers in politics: leadership, charisma, high intelligence—and a dubious interpretation of honesty” — especially when it comes to fulfilling commitments to charities made in marketing campus events.
MUTUAL BENEFIT ORGANIZATIONS
“Feeling the Squeeze, Exclusive Country Clubs Get the Common Touch.” By Eli Saslow.Washington Post, May 21, 2009. With more than 500 on the verge of bankruptcy, once exclusive country clubs are making themselves more accessible to the public.
“Union’s Rich Assets Recall the Glory Days.” By Kris Maher. Wall Street Journal. May 21, 2009. Despite declining membership unions like the United Auto Workers are sitting on billions in assets. Rank-and-file question the use of funds as perks for union brass.
“Women Are Storming Charities.” By Shelly Banjo. Wall Street Journal Wallet blog. May 15, 2009. Wealthy women are beginning to coordinate their giving on a national basis through such groups as the Women’s Funding Network, the No-Vo Foundation, and Women Moving Millions.
“Rich Feel Guilty About Giving to Charity.” No by-line. Wall Street Journal Wealth blog. May 18, 2009/
“Philanthropists Set Spending Deadlines.” By Shelly Banjo. Wall Street Journal. May 21, 2009. “A growing number of philanthropists are adopting spending deadlines and sunset provisions to ensure urgent global needs are addressed in a timely way.By granting the entirety of funds within a certain period of time, these charitable efforts are looking to have a bigger immediate impact than traditional foundations, which are typically set up to last forever and pay out roughly 5% of assets a year.” Among the leaders of these initiatives are Bill Gates, Jennifer and Peter Buffett, and Charles (Anonymous Donor) Feeney.
“Jewish day schools facing an economic crisis; Jewish campuses in Southern California and across the nation are financially ailing, prompting calls for major education reforms and increased support from the wider Jewish community.” By Carla Rivera. Los Angeles Times. May 18, 2009.
“Catholic school mergers on the rise.” By Mary E. O’Leary. New Haven Register. May 18, 2009. Responding to dwindling enrollments and increasing costs, the Archdiocese of Hartford — like many others — seeks the survival of parochial education through consolidation. Critics charge that the disconnection of schools from parishes diminishes the sense of community that made these schools unique.
“Jewish agencies forced to downsize; Madoff, economy have big impact.” By Michael Paulson. Boston Globe. May 22, 2009. Estimating that the Jewish community — one of America’s most generous — has lost a third of its wealth, Jewish organizations face massive cuts to programs and services.
“The Bully Pulpit.” By Jim Auchmutey. Wall Street Journal. May 22, 2009. A conservative Atlanta United Church of Christ congregation struggles against the power of the national denomination.
“Big Pulpit.” By N.R. Kleinfield. New York Times. May 24, 2009. New York City’s largest megachurch, with over 31,000 members and an $18.5 million operating budget, is a “tight, corporate-style” organization run by a charismatic pastor.