Philanthropy News Blog

A roundup of philanthropic news.

This Week in Philanthropy: March 1–March 7

$25M Gift to Boston Medical Center Will Help Launch Opioid Center

Boston Medical Center has received a $25 million gift, the largest in its history, and plans to use the money to fight what it calls the “heartbreaking” public health crisis caused by drug addiction and the opioid epidemic.

The donation to BMC, which serves more low-income patients than any other medical facility in New England, will create the Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine, named after billionaire investor and South Shore native John Grayken and his wife, Eilene.

In disclosing their gift, the couple said they usually do charitable giving anonymously, but are going public to destigmatize addiction and encourage others to follow their lead.

Full article text and podcast available via Boston Globe, 3/4/2017.

Chance the Rapper Donates $1 Million to Chicago Public Schools

After a disappointing meeting with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner last Friday to discuss recently announced cuts to school funding, Chance the Rapper has decided to address the issue himself.

The Chicago-bred rapper, whose full name is Chancelor Bennett, announced in a news conference Monday that he would be donating $1 million to the Chicago Public School system.

“As a CPS graduate, Chance has shown Chicago students not only the heights they can achieve but the generosity they can share,” school district spokesperson Emily Bittner said in a statement. “We also appreciate his strong advocacy for Chicago schoolchildren, who suffer under the state’s discriminatory system of funding, which Gov. Rauner continues to perpetuate.”

Full article text and podcast available via CNN, 3/6/2017.

Barnard College Endowment to Divest From Climate Change Deniers

Barnard College’s board of trustees voted to divest from energy companies that deny climate change, putting into question the $286 million endowment’s relationship with its money manager Investure.

The board approved the measure Saturday, saying the college will “distinguish between companies based on their behavior and willingness to transition to a cleaner economy.” In 2014, Investure lost a client, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which decided to divest from fossil fuel companies.

Full article text and podcast available via Bloomberg, 3/4/2017.

Harvard Ordered to Reveal Financial Records of Influential Donor

He is a wealthy international entrepreneur known for generous donations to his alma mater, Harvard. Now a court says the university must cooperate in a hunt for his assets.

A federal judge in Boston has ruled that Harvard must provide testimony and produce documents disclosing the bank accounts, routing numbers, wire transfers and other interbank messages used by an alumnus, Charles C. Spackman, to send the university money.

Mr. Spackman, a Hong Kong-based businessman, leads the Spackman Group, a global investment holding company with $1.5 billion under management.

The ruling places the Ivy League college in the uncomfortable predicament of revealing confidential financial information gleaned from the donations of an influential benefactor.

Full article text and podcast available via NY Times, 3/2/2017.

Charity Officials Are Increasingly Receiving Million-Dollar Paydays

Charities are becoming a lot more generous with pay at the top.

The tax-exempt organizations, which include many hospitals and colleges as well as traditional charities such as the United Way, provided seven-figure compensation to roughly 2,700 employees in 2014, an analysis of newly available data shows.

The total is higher by a third than in 2011, The Wall Street Journal found, after analyzing about 100,000 organizations that filed electronic returns with the Internal Revenue Service all four years.

While many of the big earners ran large enterprises, others were leaders of small charities, such as a couple who run an online ministry. Together, their $4 million in compensation equaled nearly half of the ministry’s revenue.

Full article text and podcast available via Global Finance, 3/6/2017.

Podcast: How Meals on Wheels America Serves Up a Lifeline for Seniors

Meals on Wheels America, established in 1954, serves nearly a million meals a day and has grown to 5,000 programs in the United States. But as the country’s senior population grows in both numbers and needs, the nonprofit known widely for its daily food deliveries to housebound people has evolved to offer “more than a meal,” to echo one of its research and awareness campaigns puts it.

In this episode of the Business of Giving, CEO Ellie Hollander talks about how the charity has developed into a lifeline and alert system, providing not just nutritious meals but companionship and safety checks for seniors who might otherwise spend days in isolation. That work spares many clients the need for hospitalization or institutionalization, reducing the country’s health-care tab by millions of dollars a year.

Full article text and podcast available via The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 3/3/2017.

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