“Donor of the Day: Onsite Day Care For Track Parents.” By Pia Catton. Wall Street Journal. August
22, 2011. Thoroughbred horse racing in New York State moves between three tracks: Aqueduct in Queens, Belmont Park in Long Island and Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs. But 365 days a year, there are horses lodged at the backstretch stables of Belmont and Aqueduct, where employees arrive before dawn to clean stalls, feed the horses and groom them after training. Often, these employees – many of whom are recent Latino immigrants—are also caring for their children. Because the work day starts so early, many parents are without child care. For years that meant (and still does mean at many other tracks) that children come to work with parents and sleep in cars or hang around the stalls. But that changed in 2003 with the help of two racing enthusiasts, Michael Dubb and Eugene Melnyk, whose leadership created Anna House, a day-care center open every day for children whose parents are backstretch workers at Belmont and Aqueduct, which are less than 10 miles apart. In 1998, Mr. Dubb, founder of home building company the Beechwood Organization in Jericho, N.Y., learned from then-jockey Jerry Bailey about the track workers’ need for affordable, early-morning child care. Mr. Dubb approached the New York Racing Association, which governs the tracks and surrounding facilities, with plans to donate the construction of a dedicated facility. The Belmont Child Care Association was formed, and permits were sought. But funding for operating costs was still needed. At an annual fund-raiser during the Saratoga season—which will be held this year on Wednesday—the association found support from Mr. Melnyk, a Canadian businessman who breeds and trains thoroughbreds at his Winding Oaks Farm, in Florida and Kentucky. “They had the land, they had the approvals,” he said. “I just said, ‘How much do you need?’”
“Mayor’s Charity Pipeline; Bloomberg Builds His Private Foundation’s Staff With Administration Stalwarts.” By Erica Orden. Wall Street Journal. August 23, 2011. As the clock ticks toward his exit from City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has begun to bulk up the payroll at his private charitable foundation by tapping at least one steady source of personnel: former administration staffers. Nine ex-city employees now work at Bloomberg Philanthropies, in addition to current First Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris. Outside her City Hall duties, Ms. Harris acts as the foundation’s unpaid chief executive and chairwoman. Mr. Bloomberg often has wielded both his political influence and private capital in the service of policies and organizations he supports, occasionally attracting criticism for blurring the lines between his public and private roles. The increasingly heavy migration of administration staffers to the mayor’s private philanthropic foundation comes as he continues to reach into his own deep pockets to back high-profile public programs. Mr. Bloomberg has pledged to give away most of his wealth through his charitable foundation, which he founded in December 2006. Its assets in 2007 totaled $1.4 billion, according to tax returns. By the end of 2009, it had grown to $2.2 billion, including the mayor’s $420 million contribution. While its early efforts centered on antitobacco initiatives, the foundation’s scope has broadened in recent years to include funding for education, environmental and immigration programs, as well as arts. Earlier this year, for example, it announced it would award $32 million in grants to 250 small to midsize arts and cultural groups in the five boroughs. That Mr. Bloomberg would populate the ranks of his private nonprofit with public servants comes as no surprise to longtime observers of his administration. “The mayor attracted a lot of private-sector people to public service, and the foundation has taken the best and the brightest of them,” said Dick Dadey, executive director of the Citizens Union.
“Donor of the Day: Foundation Shifts Focus to International Exchange.” By Melanie Grayce West. Wall Street Journal. August 23, 2011. The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation has long supported groundbreaking efforts in reproductive rights and improving the management of cultural and public institutions in New York. Now the organization is focusing on promoting international exchange. It’s an effort that mirrors the personal interests of the founder. Robert Sterling Clark, who died in 1955, was born into a family of privilege. Mr. Clark’s grandfather, Edward, was the attorney of Isaac Singer and ultimately became a business partner in the Singer Sewing Machine Co. Among Edward Clark’s many legacies, is the development of homes on the Upper West Side, including the Dakota building at 72nd Street and Central Park West. Robert Clark took his fortune in a different direction. He joined the Army, which led him to China and inspired a passion for art. Later, he lived in Paris and began collecting 19th-century French masterpieces. The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass., is the permanent home of his collection. At the heart of Mr. Clark’s personal interests was an exploration of other cultures. Creating an international exchange through the arts is now a major focus of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation. The foundation has awarded $1.8 million this year to arts organizations that promote international cultural exchange. The goal of the funding is to introduce American culture abroad and to introduce American audiences to cultures rarely represented in the U.S. The foundation is currently focused on exchanges between Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
“Donor of the Day: Full-Court Press to Help Children.” By Melanie Grayce West. Wall Street Journal. August 24, 2011. Above all, Tyler Ugolyn loved the game of basketball. He was a shooting guard for Columbia University’s varsity basketball team and, while in college, he started a weekly basketball clinic in Harlem for neighborhood children. He was known among his classmates as someone who could inspire others to attend church. He was a Celtics and Yankees fan, but would sometimes return to Ridgefield High School and cheer on his old high school team.His career plan was to work for a few years as an investment analyst at Fred Alger Management and then go to business school. On Sept. 11, 2001, he was working on the 93rd floor of Tower One at the World Trade Center. He died at the age of 23. Mr. Ugolyn, the retired chairman of Mony Securities Corp. and the current independent chairman of WisdomTree Trust, now oversees with his wife, Diane, and son, Trevor, the Tyler Ugolyn Foundation based in Ridgefield, Conn. The foundation’s mission is simple: renovate basketball courts and inspire in others a love for basketball. The foundation also supports clinics that not only improve on-court skills, but build character and inspire leadership. In partnership with local organizations, foundations, cities and the NCAA, the foundation has helped to renovate or build courts from Houston to Detroit to Springfield, Mass. The foundation contributes roughly $50,000 per project. The courts are all named “Tyler’s Court” and bear a plaque with the quote, “I just love playing the game.” The foundation also supports several basketball tournaments and the Tyler Ugolyn MVPs of Character Program at Columbia, a version of the clinic that Tyler started while a student at Columbia. The work is “all a continuation of what we thought our son would be doing,” says Mr. Ugolyn. “He always gave back to the community.”
“Donor of the Day: Crafts Museum Gets Benefactor.” By Melanie Grayce West. Wall Street Journal. August 24, 2011. Nanette L. Laitman says that her love of crafts has followed a long path leading up to the establishment of the Museum of Arts and Design. The journey for Ms. Laitman has led to being among the largest benefactors to the museum. She has contributed millions of dollars toward the construction its home at 2 Columbus Circle and continues to support the museum’s endowment. But her interests in crafts made by American artists began simply enough. Decades ago, she was invited by friends to attend the opening of an exhibit on shoes at a museum that was a precursor to the Museum of Arts and Design. Ms. Laitman amassed her own collection during those trips—furniture and ceramics—and those pieces are all neatly displayed in her New York home alongside the, colorful modern needlepoint that Ms. Laitman has created for 50 years. She became involved in the board of the Museum of Arts and Design 20 to 25 years ago, “long before we even dreamt of Columbus Circle,” she says. More than the building, though, the Museum of Arts and Design has “given great credibility to the artists that were considered second tier up until now,” says Ms. Laitman. “People thought of the Craft Museum as pots and bowls that were done in your mother’s garage on Saturday. Now that image is gone and people have a great deal more respect for those artists that are not just painting pictures.”