Archive for October, 2009

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (October 19 – 25, 2009)

Monday, October 26th, 2009

EDUCATION

PUBLIC SCHOOLS

School reform gets private boost.” By Esther Zuckerman. Yale Daily News. October 23, 2009. The donor dollars for Mayor John DeStefano Jr.’s expansive school reform plans are starting to flow. Fifteen local private businesses and institutions have donated $103,500 to get the school reform organization The New Teacher Project to improve New Haven public schools. The money — which is a combination of the funds raised by the 15 businesses, as well as a matching contributing by The New Teacher Project — will be handled by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, which will work with school officials to implement The New Teacher Project’s reforms.

CHARTER SCHOOLS

Boston pilot school wins $100,000.” By Stewart Bishop. Boston Globe. October 23, 2009. A Boston pilot school has won $100,000 for its dramatic improvement in academic performance, school officials said. The Boston Community Leadership Academy beat out three other finalists for the Thomas W. Payzant Prize, presented by EdVesters, a local nonprofit organization that seeks to promote change in urban schools through private investment, said Bryan Spence, EdVestor’s director of philanthropic services. Formally Boston High School, the academy became one of Boston’s first pilot schools in 2002. Pilot schools are independently governed, and teachers are exempt from typical union contract work rules. The schools are subject to state and federal laws but are exempt from district policies and mandates.

HIGHER EDUCATION

University Pays $500 Million To Cut Losses.” By Peter F. Zhu. Harvard Crimson. October 19, 2009. Harvard’s decision to use derivative investments to lock in low interest rates on the school’s mounting debt cost the University $500 million this past year and will cost it at least $425 million more over the next few decades.

Alumni Call for Lower Pay for Harvard Endowment Managers; Say endowment growth should be reduced to a more sustainable rate.” By Peter F. Zhu. Harvard Crimson. October 21, 2009. A small group of alumni from the Harvard Class of 1969 renewed its criticism of compensation paid to University endowment managers in a letter sent to President Drew G. Faust, citing the nearly 30 percent investment loss sustained this past year. “This unprecedented loss is treated as a rather small blip on a generally upward curve, giving us little confidence that Harvard is addressing the scope and nature of the current problems,” the nine alumni wrote. They said that the University’s annual financial report, which was released on Friday, “fail[ed] to acknowledge any fundamental mistakes or to suggest any major changes in the way the endowment is managed.”

University plans targeted cuts.” By Vivian Yee. Yale Daily News. October 23, 2009. Some Yale departments will shed entire programs and projects due to budget cuts this year, not just trim as they have been doing since last year.
Instead of asking all departments to reduce costs in equal proportion, the University is now targeting some specific units for deeper reductions than others, administrators said. The University’s new strategy for cutting costs on the heels of after two rounds of across-the-board cuts designed to help close a $150 million gap in the operating budget caused by the endowment’s 24.6 percent tumble.

UC announces ambitious fundraising campaign.” No by-line. Los Angeles Times. October 23, 2009. As the University of California seeks to sharply increase student fees, its president, Mark G. Yudof, today announced plans to soften the impact with an ambitious campaign to raise $1 billion for financial aid and a policy change widening the aid eligibility for more middle-income families.
The 10 UC campuses have committed to raise the $1 billion in private funds for student aid over the next four years, Yudof said. That would be double the amount the system garnered for that purpose over the last five years.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (October 19 – 25, 2009)

Monday, October 26th, 2009

CORPORATE PHILANTHROPY

Woven into the fabric; Zimman’s celebrates 100th anniversary by supporting arts program.” By Wendy Killeen. Boston Globe. October 22, 2009. Zimman’s – which has been family-owned decorating business is celebrating its centennial by a “Chair-ity Event’’ Saturday to benefit Raw Art Works, a 22-year-old arts therapy program for underserved youth in Lynn. “We wanted to do something that would have an impact locally, and it feels right to tie in with the arts,’’ Zimman said. “We are in a creative art-related business; home décor is really adult art projects.’’

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (October 19 – 25, 2009)

Monday, October 26th, 2009

CHARITY

Group fixing up Vietnam memorial.Boston Globe/Associated Press | October 22, 2009. Repair work was underway yesterday at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall as a private memorial fund took over maintenance of 13 acres from the National Park Service. Last month, the group announced plans to pay for maintenance at the site because of scarce funding from the federal government. The organization plans to raise more than $1 million to care for the memorial and grounds, including $500,000 to buy replacement granite if sections of the wall need to be replaced in the future.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (October 19 – 25, 2009)

Monday, October 26th, 2009

ADVOCACY

Something New on the Mall.” By Michael Tomasky. New York Review of Books. October 22, 2009. In the modern history of the United States, right-wing street-protest movements have been rare. But we have something new in our political life: a mass movement of citizens who believe in limited government and are opposed to the bank bailout, the auto bailout, health care reform, the deficit, and other policies of the Obama administration.The conservative protest movement has three powerful forces supporting it: bottomless amounts of corporate money; an ideologically dedicated press, radio, and cable television apparatus eager to tout its existence; and elected officials who are willing to embrace it publicly and whose votes in support of the movement’s positions can be absolutely relied upon. as well nearly thirty conservative organizations, ranging from the well known (Club for Growth, Competitive Enterprise Institute) to the obscure (Ayn Rand Center for Individual.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (October 12-18, 2009)

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

HUMAN SERVICES

TRIBUNE WATCHDOG: Parents decry care at Deicke Home in Lombard for disabled adults; State has little control over operation of unlicensed facilities.” By Joel Hood. Chicago Tribune. October 13, 2009. Families are asking why the state of Illinois has failed to close an unlicensed group home where clients have been seriously injured. In the convoluted world of disabled adult care in Illinois, where a hodgepodge of charities, agencies, organizations and privately run boardinghouses form a patchwork safety net for those unable to care for themselves. The Department of Public Health says it has few options when it comes to unlicensed group homes because it lack the authority to demand their closure.

Homeless Shelters Fear Service Cuts; Agencies Note Cold-Weather Demands.” By Darryl Fears. Washington Post. October 14, 2009. Providers of shelter for the homeless say they might have to close some fully occupied facilities if the city follows through on its plan to cut their budgets by an average of 30 percent. They are concerned they may also have to transfer as many 2,100 people to other sheltersFederal law requires the District to shelter everyone who needs a bed during the hypothermia season, but providers contend that they cannot keep their facilities open in the face of severe funding cuts from the Department of Human Services.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (October 12-18, 2009)

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

ANIMAL WELFARE

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/10/18/BAVF1A3H9U.DTL

“Cuts force San Francisco SPCA to close Mondays.” By Justin Berton. San Francisco Chronicle. October 19, 2009. For the first time in its 141-year history, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the city’s largest pet adoption agency, has cut back from a seven-days-a-week service, the result of reduced contributions to the nonprofit and recent staff layoffs.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (October 12-18, 2009)

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

ARTS & CULTURE

Moth, butterfly donation fills museum’s gaps.” By Lindsey Anderson. USA Today. October 12, 2009. A collection of more than 2 million moth and butterfly specimens valued at about $41 million has been donated to the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. The collection of William and Nadine McGuire of Wayzata, Minn., includes butterflies from every continent except Antarctica and is thought to be the largest private collection of butterflies and moths ever donated. It will bring the museum’s collection to more than 9 million specimens, one of the world’s largest.

Dallas Bets $392 Million on World Class Theater, Opera: Review.” By James S. Russell. Bloomberg.com. October 14, 2009. The Winspear and the Dee and Charles Wyly Theater are the latest additions to Dallas’s arts district. The district includes two museums, an arts high school, and I.M. Pei’s 20-year-old Meyerson Symphony Center. Still under construction are an outdoor performance space and a hall for small performing-arts groups. All but $65 million of the $392 million bill for the two new buildings and the two still under construction has been privately raised.

Cherished Berkshires theater troupe imperiled; Leaders struggle to shore up funds.” By Geoff Edgers. Boston Globe. October 14, 2009. Shakespeare & Company, a theater central to the artistic life of the Berkshires for more than three decades, is facing a cash crunch so severe it would need to raise $2.3 million just to survive until March and might not meet its payroll this month. According to a report by the Nonprofit Finance Fund, its liabilities exceeding assets by a ratio of almost seven-to-one. The company is the latest among area theaters to face money trouble. The North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly closed this year and to the Boston fringe ensemble, Up You Mighty Race Company, recently canceled its season opener.

Brandeis agrees to delay sale of artwork.” No by-line. Boston Globe. October 14, 2009. A Suffolk Probate Court judge has denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by three members of the Rose Art Museum’s board of overseers to prevent Brandeis University from closing the museum and selling the artwork, said Edward Terry Dangel, attorney for the plaintiffs. At the hearing, the university agreed it would not sell any of the artwork donated by the plaintiffs. Brandeis also agreed to give the attorney general a 30-day notice and an opportunity for review if it decides to sell any artwork donated by others.

Gates Foundation Gives Black History Museum $10M.” No by-line. Huffington Post. October 15, 2009. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving $10 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture planned for the National Mall in Washington.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (October 12-18, 2009)

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

CHARITY

Charities get more donors, fewer dollars.” By Miriam Souccar. Crain’s New York. October 16, 2009. More than half of charities are experiencing a downturn in contributions so far this year compared to the same time in 2008, according to the Association of Fundraising Professionals. A recent poll of 665 nonprofits found that 51% had seen a drop in fundraising this year, while 27% said they were on par with last year. A minority, 22%, reported they were raising more.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (October 12-18, 2009)

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

DISABILITIES

A new vision for Perkins: Watertown institution adapts to meet greater needs of students.” By Kathleen Burge. Boston Globe. October 18, 2009. The Gothic halls and stairways at the country’s oldest school for the blind no longer serve well some of the students studying at the Watertown institution. Now, for the first time in a century, Perkins is constructing a new Lower School classroom building designed to accommodate the changing needs of its students.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (October 12-18, 2009)

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

EDUCATION

PRIVATE SCHOOLS

A Slow March to Change; VMI Is Steeped in Traditions Dating to 1839. Until 1997, Female Cadets Weren’t Part of Them.” By Daniel de Vise. Washington Post. October 15, 2009. VMI was the last all-male public college in the nation when, in 1997, it began admitting women at the demand of the U.S. Supreme Court. But what has followed is unexpected academic progress. Admission decisions are more selective than a decade ago. SAT scores are up. A rejuvenated faculty is building a national reputation for undergraduate research. However, cultural shifts have proved more difficult.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Schools Pay When Rhee Snubs Donors.Washington Post. By Robert McCartney. October 15, 2009. D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee says a $12 million budget cut just forced her to lay off nearly 400 teachers and other staff. But local philanthropy groups say they would have given her that money, and more, if she’d cooperate better with them.

CHARTER SCHOOLS

The Charter Barter: On education — and every other social policy issue — the Obama administration must play referee among competing experts. Is it up to the task?” By Dana Goldstein. American Prospect. October 13, 2009.” The White House and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are infatuated with experimental, privately managed public schools, and certain charters. Although charters currently educate less than 5 percent of American schoolchildren, the Obama administration, which has vowed to raise that number. is committing over $5 billion in stimulus funds to states and local school districts that agree to lift caps on the number of charter schools allowed to open in a year. But education-policy experts are divided over whether charters, as a group, improve academic achievement.

HIGHER EDUCATION

Harvard’s Bet on Interest Rate Rise Cost $500 Million to Exit.” By John Lauerman and Michael McDonald. Bloomberg.com. October 17, 2009. Harvard University’s failed bet that interest rates would rise cost the world’s richest school at least $500 million in payments to escape derivatives that backfired.
Related story:
Harvard admits to $1.8b gaffe in cash holdings; Operating funds were lost to stock, hedge fund trades.” Boston Globe. October 17, 2009.