WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (September 6-12, 2010)


John W. Kluge, Founder of Metromedia, Dies at 95.” By Marilyn Berger. New York Times. September 8, 2010. John W. Kluge, who parlayed a small fortune from a Fritos franchise into a multibillion-dollar communications empire that made him one of the richest men in America, died on Tuesday night at a family home in Charlottesville, Va. He was 95. Mr. Kluge was the creator of Metromedia, the nation’s first major independent broadcasting entity, a conglomerate that grew to include seven television stations, 14 radio stations, outdoor advertising, the Harlem Globetrotters, the Ice Capades, radio paging and mobile telephones. An immigrant from Germany, Mr. Kluge (pronounced KLOOG-ee) came to the United States in 1922 and took his first job at the age of 10 as a payroll clerk for his stepfather in Detroit. He made his first million by the time he was 37. He made his first billion — it was actually almost two billion — in 1984, when he took Metromedia private in a $1.1 billion leveraged buyout and then liquidated the company, more than tripling his take. His philanthropy was prodigious. About a half-billion dollars went to Columbia alone, mainly for scholarships for needy and minority students. One gift, of $400 million, was to be given to the university by his estate when he died. Mr. Kluge also contributed to the restoration of Ellis Island and in 2000 gave $73 million to the Library of Congress, which established the Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanities.
Related story:
A One-Man Empire, From TV to Laundry.” Wall Street Journal. September 9, 2010.

Joan Cutler, 80, prolific fund-raiser, philanthropist.” By Bryan Marquard. Boston Globe. September 8, 2010. Joan Cutler had a phone list that fund-raisers coveted. Because her husband, Ted, was prominent in Boston’s business circles, she could scroll through numbers of the politically powerful and the region’s wealthiest families — those who form the foundation of charitable organizations statewide. The Cutlers themselves made numerous significant financial contributions to a host of causes, but Mrs. Cutler’s biggest donation was her persuasiveness. “For all that they gave, which was a lot, she multiplied that several times over,’’ said Irwin Chafetz, a philanthropist and business partner of Ted Cutler. “This woman was always calling. She was part of everything.’’ Mrs. Cutler, who worked behind the scenes for scores of organizations and lent her name to charitable concerns supporting medical research, the arts, and the impoverished, died Monday after suffering a heart attack while at her family’s home in Falmouth. She was 80 and had lived in Boston’s Back Bay. “Joan was a spectacular woman and a leader in Boston’s philanthropic community,’’ the mayor said. “From her tireless support of the arts to handing out turkeys for Thanksgiving meals, Joan’s dedication was incomparable and her work has helped make our city a brighter and more beautiful place to live.’’

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