The Supreme Court ruled today, in a 5-4 decision, that corporations may spend freely to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress, easing decades-old limits on their participation in federal campaigns, the Associated Press reports.
In the fall, Larry Ottinger, an expert on charity advocacy, wrote an opinion article in The Chronicle offering a preview of what the court case means for nonprofit groups — and what other policy changes could be made to help organizations become strong advocates for their causes.
Donations for Haiti continue to pour in — now exceeding $275-million — to help pay for food, shelter, and medical care, as well as the longer-term needs of the victims of the massive January 12 earthquake, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports.
Also: See a slide show of images from the nonprofit response.
A guide to The Chronicle’s coverage of the Haiti relief effort can be found here.
Sending nonprofit leaders on sabbaticals often helps those executives return to their jobs with renewed enthusiasm, and helps their organizations nurture up-and-coming talent within their ranks, according a new study whose results appear in The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
The share of older Americans who are volunteering has held steady since 2003, but they are giving fewer hours per month, and are increasingly likely to volunteer on their own rather than solely through an organization, according to a new survey by AARP, the national membership organization for Americans age 50 and older, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports.
American corporations have pledged more than $69-million to post-earthquake relief in Haiti, USA Today reports.
Thirty-four companies have donated at least $1-million, according to a list compiled by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Business Civil Leadership Center. Many businesses were also supplying food, water, and technical expertise to help repair communications and other infrastructure destroyed by last week’s magnitude 7.0 quake, reports The Wall Street Journal.
While governments and major aid agencies deal with immediate disaster relief, smaller nonprofit and development groups are reworking existing projects to help Haiti’s long-term recovery, The New York Times reports.
Such efforts include a Massachusetts medical charity, Containers to Clinics, which is re-routing a health center originally planned for the Dominican Republic to the disaster zone. Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group, in San Francisco, is using its connections with local entrepreneurs to build small businesses in Haiti.
(Free registration is required to view the Times article. A paid subscription is required to read the Journal story.)
A charity co-created by the billionaire and philanthropist Bill Davidson is suing his estate over its refusal to pay most of a $5-million pledge the mogul made before his death, the Detroit Free Press reports.
The claim by Areivim, a New York Jewish organization, is supported by Karen Davidson, the widow of the late Detroit Pistons owner. Mr. Davidson was one of about a dozen Areivim founders who each promised $5-million in 2006, but he had paid only $200,000 when he died last March at age 86.
Estate representatives named as defendants in the lawsuit said in court filings that Areivim had not provided “supporting documentation to establish the claim,” and that the charity’s records indicate that the $5-million pledges are contingent on 20 families making similar commitments.
The Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim Helu has committed $65-million to a new research project to identify the genomic basis of major diseases, according to a statement from the Broad Institute, a partner in the project.
The three-year Slim Initiative for Genomic Medicine aims to speed the development of therapies to prevent and treat cancer worldwide and type 2 diabetes among Mexicans and Latin Americans. The work will be conducted by the Carlos Slim Institute of Public Health in collaboration with Mexican health officials and the Broad Institute, which was founded in 2003 by Harvard, MIT, and the philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad to pursue medical advancements through DNA sequencing.
The Annenberg Foundation will begin a new program to provide mentors for the leaders of scores of small Southern California nonprofit and social-services organizations, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The Alchemy program is an outgrowth of the Los Angeles foundation’s Leadership Seminars, which advise nonprofit groups on reorganizing and raising money. Organizations that serve underprivileged and minority neighborhoods and have annual budgets of less than $2-million are eligible to participate.
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Cleveland Orchestra musicians and management agreed to a new contract Tuesday night that includes a two-year pay freeze for the players, The Plain Dealer reports.
The deal ends a two-day strike by the musicians, who objected to management’s prior proposal of a one-year, 5 percent pay cut to help close a $2-million budget gap. The new pact keeps salaries at their August 2009 level through August 2011, with players getting semi-annual raises in the third and final year of the contract.
In other arts news, museums are increasingly tapping online audiences to help supplement and shape the direction of their collections, reports The New York Times.
And National Public Radio reports on a spate of recent controversies involving museums negotiating to house major personal collections, such as those of Eli Broad and the late Don Fisher.
(Free registration is required to view the Times article.)
Bill Gates, the world’s wealthiest man, is now sending messages through the popular social-networking site Twitter about his philanthropy, notes Give and Take in its daily roundup of the best blog posts about the nonprofit world.
- Recalling the lessons from the response to the Indian Ocean tsunamis.
- How foundations could do more to assist their grant recipients.
- Why groups should lose the “charity mindset.”
Two charities that provide information about nonprofit groups to donors have create a Web site for people to rate and post reviews of relief organizations responding to last week’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, reports Prospecting, The Chronicle’s fund-raising column.
Plus: Fund-raising experts point out potential drawbacks of cellphone giving.
Contributions to charities providing aid to the victims of the Haiti earthquake now top $220-million, a Chronicle tally finds. That is a faster pace of giving than the response to the Asian tsunamis and other overseas disasters.
Because of the scale of the catastrophe in Haiti, cellphone carriers are speeding up the delivery of text-message donations to the American Red Cross — but not necessarily to other relief organizations, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports.
As the streets of Port-au-Prince teemed with earthquake survivors searching for food and water, the United Nations and relief organizations said the lack of security has emerged as a key obstacle to providing emergency aid, The Washington Post reports.
The U.N. Security Council on Monday backed a plan to send another 3,500 peacekeepers to Haiti to support the humanitarian effort. Residents in the sprawling tent cities set up in central Port-au-Prince said they had not seen a single international aid group deliver food in five days.
The tally of text-message donations to the American Red Cross for Haiti relief has exceeded $22-million, about one-fifth of the total the charity has raised for the effort and more than 50 times its previous record for emergency fund raising via cell phone, reports the Washington Post and The New York Times.
And the Haitian-born musician Wyclef Jean tearfully defended his Yele Haiti Foundation at a press conference Monday, but acknowledged the charity had made mistakes, the New York Daily News reports. Responding to reports that Yele had made payments to for-profit businesses run by Mr. Jean, the singer said that he had never personally profited from the charity’s operations and promised donors that their money would be spent on aiding earthquake victims.
(Free registration is required to view the Post articles. A paid subscription is required to read the Journal story.)
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined his Chicago counterpart, Richard M. Daley, and Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, to announce grants of $200,000 each to Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, Newark, N.J., Omaha, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Seattle, and Savannah, Ga., through the new Cities of Service Coalition.
The funds will pay for a “chief service officer” to develop and run volunteer programs in the 10 cities, which were chosen from among 50 applicants.
(Free registration is required to view the Times article and to read the AP article on the Washington Post Web site.)
The Cleveland Orchestra canceled a series of concerts this week and said a Miami residency set to start January 22 is in jeopardy as a strike by musicians entered its second day, Bloomberg reports.
The 101 players went on strike January 17 after rejecting a proposed 5-percent pay cut. Management says it must control costs to deal with a budget deficit and an endowment that has lost one-third of its value since mid-2007.
The strike involving one of the world’s most respected orchestras highlights the steep financial challenge facing symphonies amid the economic downturn and a larger debate over how much contemporary society is willing to pay for top-tier classical musicians, according to The New York Times.
The New York Philharmonic recently reported a record $4.6-million deficit last year, and Seattle Symphony Orchestra musicians last week rejected a new five-year contract and have authorized a strike.
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Gunmen attacked the offices of a humanitarian group in Baghdad on Monday, killing at least four people and leaving a bomb intended to harm police responders, The New York Times reports.
The charity, Mawteny, was founded in 2007 in a Sunni neighborhood to provide services to poor people, including distribution of food and winter clothing. Reports differed as to whether the rare assault on a Iraqi nonprofit organization left four dead and one wounded or killed all five staff members in the office.
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A Washington state tobacconist who nearly died of smoking-related illness continues to sell cigarettes and cigars but funnels the proceeds to a nonprofit organization he founded to aid people with lung disease, the Tri-City Herald of southwestern Washington reports.
John Lee of Kennewick founded Northwest Lung in 2004, 14 years after he quit smoking and one year after he underwent a double-lung transplant. Since then the sales at his store, Johnny’s Tobacco Shop and Espresso Bar, have provided $50,000 to the one-man charity, which assists transplant patients in the Seattle area.
As Congress returns to work this week after its December break, lawmakers will be taking up several key issues important to charities and donors, such as the estate tax, notes Government and Politics Watch, The Chronicle’s online column.
Ideas about how to rebuild Haiti, how to give wisely to the recovery effort, and how technology is changing relief work in Haiti are among the topics covered in Give and Take’s daily digest of the best blog posts about the nonprofit world.
- Is there a double standard on salaries for executives of charities that serve the poor versus those that work at colleges, hospitals, and wealthier institutions?
- Is giving a great way to help yourself be happy?
- Should a fund be created to help charities measure their results?