Category Archives: News-updates
May 22, 2013, 10:43 am
The devastating tornado that killed at least 24 people in Oklahoma Monday brought an outpouring of donated materials for survivors that kept volunteers and aid workers busy and prompted local broadcasters to ask that people limit giving to the most needed items, the Los Angeles Times writes.
Much of the material found its way to St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City, one of several makeshift shelters that sprang up Monday and Tuesday in areas a few miles from the center of destruction, despite continuing winds, rain, and hail. “People are just driving up and dropping off all kinds of things,” said a Red Cross volunteer at the site.
On Tuesday, radio stations that had suspended regular programming to focus on the disaster asked listeners to carefully consider what they were giving and made appeals for toiletries, bottled water, and clean-up materials.
May 22, 2013, 10:43 am
A Swiss entrepreneur who gave Harvard University $125-million five years ago to launch a bioengineering institute has doubled the donation, The Boston Globe reports.
The second $125-million contribution from Hansjörg Wyss, a billionaire former executive with medical-device maker Synthes, will provide continued funding for the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, which aims to develop biomedical and other technologies and deliver them to the market.
Mr. Wyss’s initial five-year donation for the institute, announced in October 2008, was the largest single gift in Harvard’s history.
May 22, 2013, 10:43 am
The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center announced a $50-million pledge Tuesday in support of an ambitious research effort to reduce cancer deaths, writes The Dallas Morning News.
Dallas philanthropist Lyda Hill, daughter of the late oil tycoon H.L. Hunt and a member of the cancer center’s board of visitors, said the Houston-based institution’s Moon Shots Program “represents a different direction for research that crosses disciplines and offers new hope for breaking cancer’s codes.”
The $3-billion program, launched in September and named for President John F. Kennedy’s 1962 promise to put a man on the moon, gathers teams of researchers and clinicians to focus on reducing mortality from specific cancers. The institution said Ms. Hill’s funds will support teams working on early detection and treatment of lung, breast, and ovarian cancer.
May 22, 2013, 10:43 am
The Pittsburgh Foundation might end its annual online Day of Giving, which has raised $21-million for local charities since 2009, because donations are outstripping its ability to provide matching funds, writes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
After being able to provide only 10 cents on the dollar in matches on gifts totaling $8.5-million from last October’s event, the foundation is evaluating whether to continue the program beyond a commitment through 2014. The number of Day of Giving contributors has increased from 1,000 donors to nearly 18,000 in its four years.
“We simply can’t continue to grow the matching pool ad infinitum because we are limited in the money we can make available,” said Grant Oliphant, the foundation’s president and CEO. “We are sort of overwhelmed with the success of the program.”
May 21, 2013, 10:50 am
Ranking White House officials were notified in late April about an inquiry into Internal Revenue Service scrutiny of conservative organizations but elected not to inform President Obama, The Washington Post and The New York Times report.
White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler learned of the audit and of IRS staffers’ use of terms like “Tea Party” and “patriot” to flag applications for 501(c)(4) nonprofit status, on April 24 and notified senior presidential aides, including chief of staff Denis McDonough, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday.
Ms. Ruemmler determined that “it was not necessary or appropriate to inform the president” because the review was still ongoing, Mr. Carney said. “And most importantly, no action was taken by anyone in this building to intervene.”
The Senate Finance Committee, which will open its hearings on the IRS scandal Tuesday, signaled an…
May 21, 2013, 10:46 am
A Michigan court has dismissed a petition by the head of the William Davidson Foundation to divide the late philanthropist’s charity into two parts, Crain’s Detroit Business writes.
An Oakland County Probate Court judge ruled last week that it did not have jurisdiction to split the $1-billion-plus fund, as sought by foundation President Jonathan Aaron, Mr. Davidson’s son-in-law. The move was opposed by Mr. Davidson’s widow, Karen Davidson, and his son, Ethan Davidson.
William Davidson, a businessman and owner of the Detroit Pistons basketball team, died in 2009 at the age of 86. Crain’s, citing unnamed people with knowledge of the family, says that since then tensions have grown among board members, most of whom are related, over who is best maintaining Mr. Davidson’s philanthropic vision, which encompassed support for both local charities and Jewish and Israeli causes.
May 21, 2013, 10:41 am
Leaders of a transparency watchdog group and a nonprofit investigative reporting organization assert in a Washington Post opinion piece that the “real scandal at the Internal Revenue Service” is not about targeting conservative political groups but stifling journalism outfits.
Kathy Kiely, managing editor at the Sunlight Foundation, and Diana Jean Schemo, executive editor of 100Reporters, write that since 2008 the lag time for approval of journalism groups’ applications for tax-exempt status has grown from three months to two to three years.
The authors cite recent findings by the Council on Foundations, the Knight Foundation, and other philanthropic groups that the IRS is seemingly “slow-walking” 501(c)(3) applications from the nonprofit journalism start-ups that have proliferated amid financial troubles in the commercial news media. 100Reporters has been waiting nearly a year for…
May 21, 2013, 10:29 am
New York’s Metropolitan Opera is disbanding its resident ballet company, offering buyouts that the group’s eight remaining dancers have agreed to take, reports The New York Times.
The Met scaled back the resident troupe, the roots of which date to the opera’s founding in 1883, from 16 to eight members in 2011 and has increasingly hired dancers on a per-production basis.
Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, said maintaining a resident ballet company no longer made sense “because we are using an eclectic group of choreographers who have very specific styles and needs and who want to choose their own dancers.”
May 21, 2013, 10:22 am
A former chancellor of the University of Denver has given the university $27-million toward construction of a new engineering and compute-science building that will also house a center for the study of aging, reports the Denver Business Journal.
The donation from Daniel Ritchie, who led the university from 1989 to 2005 and chaired its board of trustees from 2007 to 2009, comes in the form of a working avocado ranch he owns in Montecito, Calif. The new 110,000-square-foot building will be named for Daniel Felix Ritchie, the donor’s father.
The university announced $13-million more in gifts for the project.
May 21, 2013, 10:15 am
Prosecutors in Moscow ruled last week that Levada’s work “influences public opinion” and thus constitutes political rather than research activity, and they ordered the center to register as a “foreign agent” under a law adopted last year for nongovernmental organizations that receive support from abroad. Levada head Lev D. Gudkov said fighting the designation, as some Russian nonprofits have pledged to do, would effectively put his group out of business.
The center pioneered U.S.-style polling in post-Soviet Russia, and its findings are often at odds with Kremlin claims about public opinion. It has received about $800,000 over three years from the MacArthur, Ford, and Open Society…