Monthly Archives: March 2012
March 29, 2012, 1:03 pm
Vikki Spruill, president of the nonprofit Ocean Conservancy, has been named the new leader of the Council on Foundations, an association of grant makers.
Ms. Spruill replaces Jeff Clarke, who joined the council on an interim basis in September following the resignation of Steve Gunderson. Mr. Gunderson, a former Republican congressman, led the council for six years. Ms. Spruill will take the helm July 1.
Ms. Spruill, 54, has a background in communications and environmental advocacy. Following a 15-year career in public relations, she started SeaWeb, a nonprofit that uses communications tools to educate people about threats to the world’s oceans.
She also founded FoundationWorks, which is dedicated to improving the communications strategies of philanthropies, and served as director of the Philanthropic Awareness Initiative, a research project that investigated how people…
March 28, 2012, 7:34 pm
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation announced today that Larry Kramer, dean of Stanford Law School, will be its new president.
Mr. Kramer replaces Paul Brest, who also served as dean of Stanford’s law school before joining Hewlett in 2000. He will remain in the role until Mr. Kramer takes over on September 1.
“When we began this search, we certainly didn’t think we would hire another dean of Stanford Law School to lead the Hewlett Foundation,” Stephen C. Neal, a board member who led the search committee, said in a written statement announcing the news. “But we were committed to finding the most talented, visionary person we could, no matter where he or she came from.
“Over the last several months, we met with leaders in all sectors of society—business, government, academia, the nonprofit sector—and talked to them about who could best lead this foundation. In…
March 22, 2012, 1:41 pm
The number of foundations giving to water, sanitation, and hygiene causes tripled from 2003 to 2010, according to a new study by the Foundation Center.
The report also found that the amount of money going to those three causes was $72-million in 2010, growing from $5-million in 2003. But that is much less than in 2007, when giving was $122-million, the highest point on record. That was the year the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed $27-million over four years to the nonprofit International Development Enterprises. (Pledges were counted in the year they were made, not the year the money was given.)
In 2010, almost a third of the grants went to programs in Africa, while 18 percent went to Asia and another 9 percent to Central and South America. Giving to these causes, however, still made up only 1.7 percent of international grant making by U.S. foundations in 2010.
March 22, 2012, 9:12 am
New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a former smoker turned anti-smoking activist, is contributing another $220-million to fight tobacco use worldwide.
The pledge brings Mr. Bloomberg’s total commitment to the anti-smoking cause to more than $600-million, according to Bloomberg Philanthropies. In 2006, he announced a plan to give $125-million over two years to a coalition of groups including the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Two years later, he pledged another $250-million, while the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation joined him with a commitment of $125-million.
The new money will be spent over four years and will focus on low- and middle-income countries—where, the World Health Organization reports, nearly 80 percent of the world’s smokers live.
Mr. Bloomberg has taken a bold approach to fighting tobacco,…
March 19, 2012, 1:08 pm
Editor’s note: The Gates Foundation says the opening of an earlier version of this article, based on a New York Times article, incorrectly stated that the philanthropy had instituted a ban on whispering in its offices. For more on the Times‘ response, see reporting by the Puget Sound Business Journal. The Chronicle has revised the headline and opening to reflect the information provided by the Gates Foundation official, Chris Williams, who says “Gates Foundation employees are free to speak as softly or as loudly as they’d like in our office space.”
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation finds that its new $500-million Seattle headquarters is often too quiet, The New York Times reports.
That is one of the challenges in finding the right mix of both open and closed spaces for employees at the new headquarters, the newspaper said in a special report examining the 21st-century work …
March 19, 2012, 12:01 am
The telecommunications giant AT&T today announced that it is committing $250-million over five years to expand its program aimed at helping more students graduate from high school and preparing them for college and careers. The program, called AT&T Aspire, was started in 2008.
The expanded effort has three components.
* Technology. The corporation will sponsor contests for mobile-application developers to foster the best solutions to problems in the education system. It will also support projects to incorporate computer-game features, social media, and other platforms into education programs.
* Career skills. The company’s mentor program will pair AT&T employees with high-school students who are at risk of dropping out and expand its partnership with Junior Achievement to helps students learn skills they will need in jobs and adult life.
* Math and science. AT&T also plans…
March 16, 2012, 9:19 am
Foundation salaries grew by a median of 14.2 percent over the past five years, not accounting for inflation, according to a new survey of more than 910 grant makers.
And the vast majority of philanthropies surveyed—87 percent—said they had either increased or planned to increase their staff salaries in 2011. That share is ticking up with the improving economy: Last year, 62 percent of funds gave or expected to give raises.
Chief executives at the foundations surveyed by the Council on Foundations received a median salary of $142,000, while program officers were paid a median of $80,000.
Salaries of CEO’s and program officers grew at roughly the same pace—14.9 percent and 14.7 percent, respectively.
About 77 percent of foundations provided medical benefits to full-time employees. At grant makers with at least $100-million in assets, that figure was 98 percent.
March 12, 2012, 8:53 am
As charities face a continuing struggle to raise funds in the slow economic recovery, they will not find lots of new sources of unrestricted aid or other help to make it through the tough times, according to a new study.
A survey of 755 foundations conducted in 2011 by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and the TCC Group found that 83 percent of foundations said they devote money to general support, compared with 80 percent in 2008. And the median amount of foundations’ budgets devoted to unrestricted support held steady at 20 percent.
But another finding suggests that some foundations are giving more in unrestricted support. Thirty-five percent of foundations surveyed said they gave more money in general operating support in the past two years, compared with 15 percent that gave less.
Thirty percent said they spent more to help charities strengthen their operations,…