Archive for November, 2009

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (November 23-29, 2009)

Monday, November 30th, 2009


Bingo not just fun and games.” By Abbe Smith. New Haven Register. November 23, 2009. Charitable gaming, the most innocuous subcategory of gambling regulated by the state Division of Special Revenue, includes bingo, sealed-ticket machines, even cow chip raffles. And for many nonprofits and service organizations, this type of revenue generator is a lifeline, especially during dark economic times. And usually it is a perfectly innocent combination of a social event and a fundraiser. But with the prospect of bringing in tens of thousands of dollars in revenue comes the possibility that someone will take advantage of the system and seek to pocket some of the money.

Charity Thanksgiving dinners, turkey giveaways planned for Southern California.” No by-line. Los Angeles Times. November 24, 2009. Several charity Thanksgiving dinners and turkey giveways are planned in Southern California, highlighted by a dinner tonight hosted by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Cardinal Roger Mahoney for 600 Para Los Ninos children and their families at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Salvation Army will test taking credit cards at kettles.” No by-line. Indianapolis Star. November 26, 2009. There could be less jingle in some of the Salvation Army’s hallmark red kettles this season. The charity is testing kettles that take debit and credit cards as fewer shoppers carry cash.

A father’s donation of food leads to family tradition.” By Amy Hsuan. Oregonian. November 26, 2009. Every family has their Thanksgiving traditions, and Jones and her father, Kwik, have theirs: For the past four years, they’ve made sack meals for the homeless.

Volunteers find the key to happy holiday is giving back; For many, family tradition involves feeding neighbors who are in need.” By Kevin O’Neal. Indianapolis Star.
November 27, 2009.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (November 23-29, 2009)

Monday, November 30th, 2009



“VMI deals with lengthy sexism accusations.
” No By-line. Boston Globe/Associated Press. November 23, 2009. Virginia Military Institute is defending itself against a lengthy federal investigation into accusations that the school’s policies are sexist and hostile toward female cadets.

Catholic schools look at closing; 14 in District and Md. with lower enrollment discuss concerns.” By Michael Birnbaum. Washington Post. November 24, 2009. Pastors at 14 churches in the Washington Archdiocese have warned that their schools could close or be reconfigured if enrollments continue to decline. The archdiocese operates 96 schools in the District and Maryland and serves 28,629 students, down 2.4 percent from last year, when it closed two schools in Southern Maryland. Two years ago, it gave up control of seven D.C. schools and converted them to public charters.

L.A. Unified school choices are a confusing maze; Fairs and websites try to help parents, but deciphering magnets, points and charters within the district isn’t easy.” By Howard Blume. Los Angeles Times. November 27, 2009.


Mass. investigating a charter school; Springfield facility’s leap in MCAS scores preceded allegations.” By James Vaznis. Boston Globe. November 25, 2009.
he Robert M. Hughes Academy’s math scores this spring improved at the fastest pace in the state, with English scores not far behind. It should have been a cause for celebrating this Springfield charter school, which was ordered by the state in January to improve its MCAS scores or face possible closure. But yesterday, the state announced that it has launched a formal investigation into possible irregularities in the school’s administration of the exam, as well as additional allegations of mismanagement and fiscal improprieties that have subsequently surfaced.

Charter schools: Two studies, two conclusions.” By Nick Anderson. Washington Post. November 30, 2009. As President Obama pushes for more charter schools, the education world craves a report card on an experiment nearly two decades old. How are these independent public schools doing? The safest and perhaps most accurate reply — it depends — leaves many unsatisfied.This year, two major studies offer contradictory conclusions on a movement that now counts more than 5,000 charter schools nationwide, including dozens in the District and Maryland and a handful in Virginia.


Harvard ignored warnings about investments; Advisers told Summers, others not to put so much cash in market; losses hit $1.8b.” By Beth Healy. Boston Globe. November 29, 2009. It happened at least once a year, every year. In a roomful of a dozen Harvard University financial officials, Jack Meyer, the hugely successful head of Harvard’s endowment, and Lawrence Summers, then the school’s president, would face off in a heated debate. The topic: cash and how the university was managing – or mismanaging – its basic operating funds. Through the first half of this decade, Meyer repeatedly warned Summers and other Harvard officials that the school was being too aggressive with billions of dollars in cash, according to people present for the discussions, investing almost all of it with the endowment’s risky mix of stocks, bonds, hedge funds, and private equity. Meyer’s successor, Mohamed El-Erian, would later sound the same warnings to Summers, and to Harvard financial staff and board members. But the warnings fell on deaf ears, under Summers’s regime and beyond. And when the market crashed in the fall of 2008, Harvard would pay dearly, as $1.8 billion in cash simply vanished. Indeed, it is still paying, in the form of tighter budgets, deferred expansion plans, and big interest payments on bonds issued to cover the losses.

BU considers campuses in India, Abu Dhabi.” By Tracy Jan. Boston Globe. November 29, 2009. First came Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where Boston University opened a dental school in 2008. Now, if all goes well, the university may set up outposts in Abu Dhabi and in India.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (November 23-29, 2009)

Monday, November 30th, 2009


One lab’s trash becomes a poorer one’s treasure; Local group ships to Africa, Latin America.” By James F. Smith. Boston Globe. November 23, 2009. With the help of a couple of like-minded graduate students, Harvard Medical School doctoral candidate Nina Dudnik enlisted dozens of science students to scour the labs and rescue unneeded microscopes, petri dishes, beakers, centrifuges, ovens, and vast numbers of test tubes. With them, the nonprofit organization she built, called Seeding Labs, has, over the last six years, equipped 22 science laboratories at universities in 13 Latin American and African countries.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (November 23-29, 2009)

Monday, November 30th, 2009


Catholic Church gives Pilsen group $500,000 for housing effort.” By Serena Maria Daniels. Chicago Tribune. November 24, 2009. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has made a $500,000 investment in a Pilsen-based organization to help expand housing for low-income residents on the city’s Southwest Side. The seed money will be used by The Resurrection Project for the development, construction, marketing and promotion of affordable housing. Earlier this year, the organization completed construction of Casa Morelos, a 45-unit apartment complex in Pilsen.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (November 23-29, 2009)

Monday, November 30th, 2009


Stepping up to help fill others’ plates; With more folks needing food, more are helping provide it.” By Brian Benson. Boston Globe. November 22, 2009. A new flock of volunteers like Delaney is a timely boost to food pantries, which are facing the annual problem of increased holiday demand, exacerbated this season by decreasing donations because of the recession. Demand for services has jumped 20 to 30 percent across the region over the last year, according to pantry directors.

In bad times, the price is right at Goodwill; With rent down and demand up, the charity looks to expand outlets for bargain-hungry shoppers.” By Susan Kinzie. Washington Post. November 24, 2009. The economy has been tough on retailers and nonprofit groups alike. But Goodwill of Greater Washington is taking advantage of the downturn with an aggressive expansion. It is scouting locations for eight to 12 more stores in the area in the next five years, doubling its current numbers. Why now? Because rent is down, and demand is up. Retail traffic increased this year nearly 10 percent to its nine stores. In the past few months, sales have been 17 to 20 percent higher than the previous year.

Need for emergency food spikes nearly 21% in NYC.” No by-line. Crain’s New York. November 23, 2009. The number of people seeking emergency food assistance in New York City is up 20.9% over last year, but agencies were better able to meet that demand despite the shaky economy, according to a report released Monday by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. Agencies in New York and around the state have been able to help more people with a boost from federal stimulus money.

Charities Running Out Of Turkeys To Give Away.” By Julian Hattem. Huffington Post. November 24, 2009. Charities across the nation are serving record numbers of people this week in advance of he Thanksgiving holiday — and there just aren’t enough turkeys for everybody.

Growing multitudes need a helping hand; Demand has never been higher at Loaves & Fishes, a Van Nuys food bank that helps about 3,000 families a year.” By Steve Lopez. Los Angeles Times. November 25, 2009.

“‘Coats for Clunkers’ aims for nonprofit success.” By Adrianne Pasquarelli. Crain’s New York. November 25, 2009. Nonprofit New York Cares, which kicks off its annual coat drive Tuesday, and has some new retail partnerships in the works. Taking a tip from the auto industry, Weatherproof Garment Co. will run a “Coats for Clunkers” program in December for the first time. Weatherproof will set up special bins at Penn Station where shoppers can drop off a coat and pick up a $100 rebate coupon to use at, a special site created just for the drive. Weatherproof also sells its garments on and The apparel manufacturer plans to donate 6,000 of its own coats to the cause.

At food bank, some givers are now receivers; The harsh economy brings newcomers to Manna in Thousand Oaks. Although donations usually keep up with demand, the shelves are sometimes empty and the holidays always mean the longest lines.” By Catherine Saillant. Los Angeles Times. November 26, 2009. This year, traditional recipients of emergency assistance are being joined by a new population — people who have never used social services before. The new faces show up at Manna’s door every week, often telling stories of foreclosed homes, lost jobs or medical debt that have pushed them down the economic ladder, said Julia Pauloo, the food bank’s office manager. “It’s the people who used to donate,” Pauloo said as she greeted new arrivals and answered a constantly ringing telephone at Manna’s small office in Thousand Oaks.

A happy Thanksgiving on skid row; The Fred Jordan Mission provides free meals to more than 2,000 people in downtown L.A. Many of the diners were first-timers.” By Victoria Kim. Los Angeles Times. November 27, 2009.

At food bank, some givers are now receivers; The harsh economy brings newcomers to Manna in Thousand Oaks. Although donations usually keep up with demand, the shelves are sometimes empty and the holidays always mean the longest lines.” By Catherine Saillant. Los Angeles Times. November 26, 2009.

Committed work in hunger’s shadow.” By Renee Loth. Boston Globe. November 27, 2009. Children’s HealthWatch, the research arm of the Boston Medical Center’s Grow Clinic, found that food insecurity among families with young children seeking care at the center rose from 19 to 26 percent between the first half of 2008 and the first half of 2009. The Grow Clinic subsists almost entirely on private philanthropy. No insurance plan or government aid pays for the team of nutritionists, physical therapists, and social workers who follow the children, or the food pantry Frank began at the hospital, or the special high-calorie formula poor parents couldn’t possibly afford on their own. The giving urge is strong during the holidays, and donations are welcome. But of course, the children are hungry all year long.

Recession sends older Americans to food pantries.” By Valerie Bauman. USA Today. USA Today/Associated Press. Older Americans who were raised on stories of the Great Depression and acquired lifelong habits of thrift now find themselves crowding soup kitchens and food pantries in greater numbers for the first time after seeing retirement funds, second jobs and nest eggs wiped out by recession.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (November 23-29, 2009)

Monday, November 30th, 2009



Lend a hand for literacy.” By Jessica Mahar. Sydney Morning Herald. November 25, 2009. ONLY one in five children in remote indigenous communities can read to the minimum standard. That is the startling message of the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation, which wants to make it known and to change the situation. Tomorrow, the Hands Across the Nation Indigenous Literacy Appeal – of which the Herald is a media partner – will ask people to raise their hands if they care enough to want to help the most marginalised Australians become literate and numerate.

St Vincent’s board loses $24m on junk bonds.” By Kate Benson. Sydney Morning Herald. November 27, 2009. THE board of one of Sydney’s biggest hospitals is under fire after losing more than $24 million on the sharemarket using money taken from trust funds containing public donations and federal government research grants. Senior doctors at St Vincent’s Hospital have called for an independent inquiry after discovering about $80 million, some of which was earmarked for new equipment, research projects, education and salaries, was used to buy high-risk bonds, the same kind responsible for triggering the global financial crisis last year in the United States.


Experts: Bishops covered up priests’ child abuse.” By Shawn Pogatchnik. USA Today/Associated Press. November 26, 2009. Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in Dublin covered up decades of child abuse by priests to protect the church’s reputation, an expert commission reported Thursday after a three-year investigation.
Related Story:
Report accuses Catholic Church of coverup.” By Rob Gifford. National Public Radio. November 26, 2009.
Irish church and police covered up child sex abuse, says report; Devastating report on abuse of children by clergy from 1975 to 2004 accuses church and Garda of colluding to cover up scandal.Guardian (UK). November 26, 2009.
The Brothers grim: Once, the Christian Brothers wielded extraordinary power – not only over the lives of the hundreds, if not thousands, of children they abused, but over Ireland itself. Today there are only 250 people left in the Irish order, with an average age of 74 – but its legacy still looms large.” Guardian (UK). November 28, 2009.


ASIA: Civil Society Steps Up Efforts Towards Alternative Economy.” By Mutsuko Murakami. Interpress Service. Amid worsening poverty, income inequality and a host of environmental hazards that are afflicting many countries, the world needs an economic model that encourages local initiatives for social entrepreneurship, builds smaller-scale and independent economy, and expands social networks and promotes grassroots-based initiatives towards sustainable development, say advocates of this economic model, which gathered together for the second time in a span of two years in this capital. These ideas, they say, are best summed up in the concept of solidarity economy (SE). Yoko Kitazawa, an independent scholar and one of the chief organisers of a forum held early this month in the Japanese capital, said the idea places priority on the welfare of people, not on profit of corporations or organizational prosperity.


Russian Leader Expresses Support for Nonprofits.” By Clifford J. Levy. New York Times. November 24, 2009. President Dmitri A. Medvedev called Monday for tax incentives and other measures to assist Russia’s beleaguered nonprofit groups, which have come under government pressure in recent years. Mr. Medvedev, promoting policies that he hopes will modernize the country, said in a meeting with human rights advocates that new laws would not alleviate all the problems the groups faced, but that they would certainly help. “Our main goal is the support of the authority of nonprofit groups in society, and the attraction to this sector of more talented people and philanthropic resources,” Mr. Medvedev said. “We need to stimulate philanthropy and create a stimulus or a motivation for volunteers who toil for such organizations.”


Mixed-Sex Saudi University Hits Clerical Opposition (Update1).” By Henry Meyer and Glen Carey. November 25, 2009. King Abdullah, seeing the need for speed in changing his country is creating secular universities, including a coeducational graduate school, and pushing for more science and technology in education. The king needs a well-trained workforce to diversify the world’s largest oil exporter from energy and create jobs for Saudi Arabia’s youth, more than 25 percent of whom are unemployed. Failing to raise the fortunes of the almost 40 percent of the population under 15 would make the Islamic state even more susceptible to extremism, said Simon Henderson, an expert on the Gulf monarchies at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Stability of world oil supplies depends on Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally. But a backlash by clerics, is slowing those efforts.


SRI LANKA: Rights Groups Blame Gov’t Apathy for Migrant Woes.” By Feizal Samath. Inter Press Service. November 25, 2009. Dozens of Sri Lankan migrant workers languishing under a flyover in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, claiming to be stranded, exemplify the crisis of migration that Sri Lankan authorities have faced over the years. According to the government, the problem only confronts less than one percent of more than 1.6 million Sri Lankan workers abroad. But according to the National Policy on Migration—an International Labour Organization-led initiative involving government agencies, associations and non-governmental organisations supporting migrant workers, and employment agents—most of the complaints are over wage issues and sexual and physical harassments.


Missing funds: Australian faces the music.” By Paola Totoro. Sydney Morning Herald. November 25, 2009. : The Australian financial director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra has been accused of using up to £560,000 ($1 million) in public funds to pay for clothing, antiques and renovations to his family home. Cameron Poole, an expert in charity finances who graduated from Melbourne University in 1993, quit the orchestra in August and now faces a High Court action from his former employer to recover the money. The shortfall in funds was allegedly discovered when the organisation carried out an external audit for its end-of-year accounts.

The professionals: The time of the interim has arrived. In periods of cost-cutting, freelance managers offer diverse skills and deliver efficiency. That’s why the public and voluntary sectors are turning to them for support. Debbie Andalo reports.” By Debbie Andalo. Guardian (UK). November 25, 2009. For the first time the demand for freelance senior experienced executives to work in the public sector is higher than the private sector. And all the indications are that the trend is likely to continue – despite the squeeze on public spending and the possibility of a change of government next year. But while there may be more assignments on offer for these interim managers in public services, competition for contracts is greater. Interims who have traditionally worked in the private sector but have seen their freelance opportunities disappear because of the recession, are now turning to the public and voluntary sectors instead.

Burnham is right to confirm the NHS as key healthcare provider.” By Rachael Maskell and Karen Reay. Letters. Guardian (UK). November 25, 2009. Andy Burnham should be congratulated for his decision to ensure that the NHS is given “preferred provider” status (Andy Burnham told charities at risk in policy shift, 23 November). It shows he has listened to the professionals that the NHS, not the private or not-for-profit sector, is best placed to provide health services and he is aware of the dangers of a fragmented healthcare system, with a myriad of organisations competing for contracts, rather than co-operating to provide the best care for patients.

David Cameron accused of ‘divisive smears’ over Islamic schools claim.” No by-line. Times of London. November 26, 2009. Tory leader David Cameron was accused of using “divisive smears” by the Schools Secretary after alleging that a radical Muslim group had set up two schools with the help of public cash meant to tackle extremism. Cameron claimed that the Government had been warned that the independent schools in London were being run by a “front organisation for Hizb ut Tahrir”. Demanding an investigation from Gordon Brown, Mr Cameron said schools run by the ISF (Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation) in Slough and Haringey, London, had received £113,000 of Government money, some of which was from the Pathfinder scheme, the objective of which is meant to be preventing violent extremism. But within hours of Mr Brown promising an investigation, Ed Balls, the Secretary of State, said that the money going to the schools in Slough and the north London borough of Haringey was in fact intended to fund free nursery places for three and four year olds.

Tesco policy on plastic is fantastic, says university (after bagging £25 million).” By Ben Webster. Times of London. November 27, 2009. A university that accepted £25 million from Tesco has published a report with misleading figures to endorse the supermarket’s policy of giving away billions of single-use carrier bags.

Aristocrat blew £1.6m of family’s charity on living the high life.” By Terri Judd. Independent (UK). November 27, 2009. A wealthy aristocrat, who used a family charity as his personal piggy bank, frittering away £1.6m, was given a two-year suspended sentence yesterday. The Hon Jonathan Davies, 65, blew money intended for Bosnian orphans on fine wines, golf club memberships and a friend’s spark-plug invention.

Hygiene inquiry into deaths at Essex NHS trust; Blood-stained floors, out-of-date equipment and apparent mould in machines found at Basildon and Thurrock hospitals trust.” By Owen Bowcott. Guardian (UK). November 27, 2009. An Essex NHS hospital trust found to have blood-splattered equipment and an unusually high death rate among patients is being investigated by health inspectors. Action is being taken against Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS foundation trust after an inspection last month revealed hygiene failures and raised concerns about excessive death rates. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Monitor, the body charged with regulating semi-autonomous NHS foundation trusts, have demanded changes in practices that breached patient protection standards.
Related Story:
Twelve hospital trusts exposed for failing patients.Times of London. November 29, 2009.
“Deadly hospital gave itself top marks; Self-assessment procedure allowed foundation trust to award itself high marks despite high death toll and filthy conditions.Guardian (UK). November 27, 2009.

Church of England set to lose a tenth of its clergy in five years.” By Ruth Gledhill and Tim Glanfield. Times of London. November 28, 2009. The Church of England is facing the loss of as many as one in ten paid clergy in the next five years and internal documents seen by The Times admit that the traditional model of a vicar in every parish is over. The credit crunch and a pension funding crisis have left dioceses facing massive restructuring programmes. Church statistics show that between 2000 and 2013 stipendiary or paid clergy numbers will have fallen by nearly a quarter. According to figures on the Church of England website, there will be an 8.3 per cent decrease in paid clergy in the next four years, from 8,400 this year to 7,700 in to 2013. This represents a 22.5 per cent decrease since 2000. If this trend continues in just over 50 years there will be no full-time paid clergy left in Britain’s 13,000 parishes serving 16,000 churches. Jobs will instead be filled by unpaid part-timers, giving rise to fears about the quality of parish ministry. Combined with a big reduction in churchgoing, the figures will add weight to the campaign for disestablishment.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (November 16-22, 2009)

Monday, November 30th, 2009


JPMorgan donating $5M through Facebook.Crain’s New York/Associated Press. November 18, 2009. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is letting Facebook users help decide how to give away $5 million. J.P. Morgan donates about $100 million a year to nonprofits, mostly higher-profile, larger ones such as the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The $5 million is on top of that.

Goldman’s $500 Million Is Day Late, Dollar Short.” Commentary by Mark Gilbert. November 18, 2009. So now we know the value Goldman Sachs Group Inc. places on salving its conscience for screwing up what Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein called “God’s work.” It seems that $500 million is all it takes to compensate the world for Goldman’s role in creating the credit crunch. Goldman said yesterday it’s setting up a “10,000 Small Businesses Initiative.” It will shell out $200 million to educational institutions to help guide business owners, with a further $300 million invested for lending and philanthropy aimed at community development groups. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is the largest Goldman shareholder, is joining the initiative. Here’s another way of looking at this sudden burst of supposed generosity. Goldman has $16.7 billion stashed in its bonus pot from the record profit earned in the first nine months of the year, which works out at $527,192 per staffer. That means those 10,000 small businesses the securities firm says it wants to help are worth the equivalent of about 1,000 Goldman employees. Alternatively, a Goldmanite’s average contribution to society is pitched at the equivalent of 10 small enterprises, based on that bonus-versus-charity calculation.
Related Story:
In Charity Tax Filing, a Glimpse of Goldman.New York Times. November 12, 2009.
$500 Million and Apology From Goldman.” By Graham Bowley. New York Times. November 18, 2009.

Goldman, Salvation Army plan 10K turkey dinners.” No by-line. Crain’s New York. November 20, 2009. The Salvation Army plans to serve 10,000 free dinners across the city this Thanksgiving — meals planned by a star chef, cooked by one of New York’s ritziest caterers and cleaned up by employees of one of Wall Street’s most vilified financial firms.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (November 23-29, 2009)

Monday, November 30th, 2009


Comment: How to Save Journalism.” By John Nichols & Robert W. McChesney.
The Nation.November 24, 2009. In early December the Federal Trade Commission will hold an unprecedented hearing to assess the radical downsizing and outright elimination of newspaper newsrooms and to consider public-policy measures that might arrest a precipitous collapse in reporting and editing of the news.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (November 23-29, 2009)

Monday, November 30th, 2009


The Church and the Capital.” Editorial. New York Times. November 23, 2009. Gay people will eventually win full civil rights — including the right to marry — throughout the United States. Between now and then, there will be many more disputes like the one unfolding between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington and the District of Columbia City Council over a bill recognizing same-sex marriages that could be voted on as soon as next week. City lawmakers who are negotiating with the archdiocese over the language of the bill should try to settle it without acrimony — but not by abandoning the District’s equal-rights tradition or by selling out same-sex couples.
Related Story:
D.C.’s same-sex marriage bill: Finding the right balance.” By Donald W. Wuerl. Washington Post. November 22, 2009.

Spare Change for Homeless? Cuomo Sees a Sham and Sues.” By Manny Fernandez. New York Times. November 25, 2009. In Manhattan, they are as common a sight as the homeless themselves: the United Homeless Organization’s street-corner donation tables, operated with little more than a large plastic jug and a worker pleading for coins and bills for the needy. The workers, clad in aprons bearing the group’s logo, are all homeless or formerly homeless, and the organization says that the donations help pay for food pantries, clothing, detox centers and other services. Skeptical New Yorkers who wondered over the years just where the money ended up wondered just as often if they were perhaps being too skeptical. Until Tuesday, that is, when New York’s attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, described the United Homeless Organization as a sham. His office filed a lawsuit against the group, alleging that its president, a formerly homeless Bronx man named Stephen Riley, and its director, Myra Walker, used tens of thousands of dollars from the group for personal expenses while failing to provide any services for the homeless.

MAJOR STORIES (November 23-29, 2009)

Monday, November 30th, 2009


Topless bar money Gingrich spurned goes to dogs.” By Marcus K. Garner. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. November 25, 2009. Dawn Rizos could have been bitter when former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich returned her $5,000 donation and rescinded an entrepreneurship award offered to her Dallas strip club. But Rizos found a new way to honor her favorite conservative statesman. She used the donation returned from Gingrich’s political think tank, American Solutions, to build a recovery shelter for injured pit bulls at an animal shelter outside Dallas.