August 31, 2010

Celebrity Charities: Good For Image, But What About Good Works?

Posted in Philanthropy at 3:26 pm by philanthropynews

By Monte Burke and William P. Barrett

Like a good tax advisor, a charitable connection is now considered essential for a serious celebrity building a brand. That can come through an identification with a cause (think Mary Tyler Moore and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), by contributing cash after a disaster (Brad Pitt and Angelia Jolie for Haiti), or from big fundraising events (Jerry Lewis and his annual telephones for the Muscular Dystrophy Association).

Or, a celebrity can do like Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Michael Dell and many other billionaires on the Forbes 400 list have done and set up their own foundation, perhaps branded with their own name. We estimate about a fourth of those on our 2010 list of the biggest celebrities have their own charities.

Read more via Forbes.


August 27, 2010

International Support for Pakistan Tops $815 Million

Posted in Philanthropy at 8:30 pm by philanthropynews

According to Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the international community has now given or pledged more than $815 million to his flood-ravaged country, even as the surging Indus River forces hundreds of thousands of people in the southern part of the country to evacuate their homes and villages, the Associated Press reports.

The flooding that began in late July in northwest Pakistan after exceptionally heavy monsoon rains has since covered eastern Punjab province and Sindh province in the south, inundating almost a fifth of the country and straining the country’s resources as the government struggles to quell al-Qaida and Taliban violence. Some twenty million people have been affected by the flooding, and as many as eight million people have been left homeless.

Read more via Philanthrophy News Digest.

August 24, 2010

Local middle school gets windfall: New classroom, 20 computers, video projector, camcorder

Posted in Philanthropy at 7:37 pm by philanthropynews

Wolf Branch Middle School students will return to school today to find a new classroom as the school was one of three grand-prize winners in the nationwide “Win a Wireless Lab Sweepstakes.”

“Education funding is tight in Illinois,” said Erin Wright, a seventh-grade language arts teacher at the Swansea-based school. “Our students, teachers, administration and parents are all more than appreciative of this wonderful prize.”

The new classroom, valued at $48,000, includes 20 computers, an interactive whiteboard, 20 student response devices, a video projector, a document camera, a printer, a camcorder, a mobile cart, three wireless access points and a $5,000 digital media grant from Discovery Education, which co-sponsored the contest with CDW Government.

(Read more via

August 19, 2010

New York Cares – Spotlight On- J.J. Jackson

Posted in Philanthropy at 2:43 pm by philanthropynews

J.J. Jackson first began volunteering as a way to take her mind off of things. But the distraction soon turned into a passion as she discovered how much she had to offer to fellow New Yorkers.

As a team leader at an immigrant support center, J.J. spends one day each week helping Arab American women prepare for the U.S. citizenship test. And when she’s not practicing English, J.J. is probably busy reading to eager children with special needs.

(Read more via New York Cares Blog.)

August 17, 2010

NY Life Foundation grants $1.6 million to developmental studies center

Posted in Philanthropy at 7:22 pm by philanthropynews

The New York Life Foundation announced today a $1.6 million two-year grant to the Developmental Studies Center to expand access to its Afterschool KidzLit and Afterschool KidzMath enrichment programs nationally. This follows previous funding from the Foundation of more than $700,000 in 2007 and $2,400,000 in 2008.

At least 800 sites will now be able to participate each year, resulting in over 3,000 sites nationally that will be enriched by KidzLit and KidzMath.

“With this grant, the New York Life Foundation is making it possible for deserving youth across the country to get what they need during the after-school hours—academic support that is engaging and challenging, and social support that enables them to become caring, principled, and responsible,” said Eric Schaps, president, Developmental Studies Center.

“The New York Life Foundation is proud to support research-proven programs that help youth to become as knowledgeable, thoughtful, principled, and caring as possible,” said Chris Park, president, New York Life Foundation. “DSC’s reading and math enrichment programs help students build the skills they will need to succeed later in life.”

(Read more via PNN Online.)

August 12, 2010

Winnick Family Foundation Lauds Breakthrough Alzheimer’s Disease Discovery

Posted in Philanthropy at 7:31 pm by philanthropynews

Research conducted by scientists at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and the University of Southern California.

Beverly Hills, CA (PRWEB) August 10, 2010 – The Winnick Foundation was part of a consortium of private philanthropies, universities and federal agencies supporting research that has led to a new discovery that may lead to earlier diagnosis, intervention and monitoring of Alzheimer’s disease. The occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease is becoming more prevalent worldwide as the baby-boom generation ages, but there is presently no conclusive, non-invasive way to diagnose it.

The research was conducted by a team of scientists at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in collaboration with colleagues from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and the University of Southern California. The team’s findings were presented on July 13 at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Said Gary Winnick, founder and CEO of Pacific Capital Group: “This research brought together some of the finest talents in medicine from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, and the University of Southern California. My family is pleased to be part of that funding group and we all hope that this breakthrough will greatly simplify and speed up early detection of this devastating disease that affects so many millions around the world.”

The scientific team discovered that the same nerve-cell damaging plaque that accumulates in the brain with Alzheimer’s also builds up in the retinas of the eyes. The team has both confirmed this phenomenon in humans and is now perfecting early detection techniques using non-invasive optical imaging procedures in tests with live laboratory mice. The breakthrough suggests the possibility of monitoring Alzheimer’s disease in humans through a similar, simple retinal imaging approach.

Added Gary Winnick: “Earlier studies have suggested that changes in the brain brought in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease may begin years or even decades before symptoms occur. The results of this new finding suggests that doctors may finally be able to provide earlier, reliable detection and begin in earnest to develop effective remedies for this debilitating disease.”

About the Winnick Family Foundation
The Winnick Family Foundation encourages project-specific programs but also selectively supports capital campaigns and unrestricted gifts to grantee organizations. There is a preference for projects in Los Angeles and New York – or those having an international component.

Foundation naming grants include:

  • Winnick Family Clinical Research Institute at Cedars Sinai Hospital
  • Winnick House and Arnold S. Winnick Student Center at the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University
  • Winnick International Conference Center at the Simon Wiesenthal Center / Jerusalem
  • Winnick Children’s Zoo in Los Angeles
  • Winnick Faculty Scholar at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University
  • Winnick Hall at the Skirball Cultural Center
  • Arnold & Blanche Winnick Popular Library and Karen Winnick Children’s Gallery at the Los Angeles Central Library
  • Winnick Hillel House at Syracuse University
  • Winnick Board Room at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City
  • Winnick Winners Mentoring Program for the Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Winnick Fellows at UCLA School of Medicine
  • Winnick Gallery at Yeshiva University Museum, Center for Jewish History

Karen and Gary Winnick and the Foundation have endowed university and high school literacy and scholarship programs at Brown University, at Mrs. Winnick’s alma mater Syracuse University, and at Gary Winnick’s alma mater, Long Island University.

They have also funded the transformation of the on-campus C.W. Post mansion administrative center – renamed Winnick House – as well as the main cafeteria which is now named in honor of Mr. Winnick’s late father.

In California, the Foundation has supported educational programs at the California Science Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, KOREH L.A., the Los Angeles Zoo, L.A.’s Best Afterschool Program, the Wonder of Reading, the Fulfillment Fund and Noah’s Ark at the Skirball Center.

Among the many other Foundation grantees are the Special Olympics, The Center for Jewish History, Children’s Scholarship Fund, Partnership for Better Schools, Teach for America, The Gettysburg Foundation, The National Parks Foundation, Best Friends Animal Society, The Los Angeles Police Foundation, Shoah Foundation, and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University.

The Foundation also supports charities operating outside the United States, including the International Medical Corps, Flora and Fauna, World Wildlife Fund, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the Israel Museum, the Israel Philharmonic, the Jerusalem Zoo, Heifer International and the Bloomfield Science Museum at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. For more information on the Foundation and its work, visit on the Web.

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August 6, 2010

Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen Pledges Bulk of Fortune to Philanthropy

Posted in Philanthropy at 7:21 pm by philanthropynews


Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen said Thursday that he will give away the majority of his fortune, following a recent call by his former partner Bill Gates for billionaires to publicly pledge at least half of their wealth to philanthropy.

In a statement, Mr. Allen, 57 years old, said that his “philanthropic efforts will continue after my lifetime.”

Mr. Allen co-founded Microsoft with Mr. Gates in 1975 then left the company in 1983 to become an investor in a range of media, cable and other ventures. In March Forbes estimated his wealth at $13.5 billion.

“As our philanthropy continues in the years ahead, we will look for new opportunities to make a difference in the lives of future generations,” Mr. Allen said in the statement.

The comments mark a change for Mr. Allen, who has historically said little about his philanthropy. They are in part a response to Mr. Gates, his wife Melinda Gates and investor Warren Buffett, who last month called on billionaires to commit publicly to giving away at least half of their wealth in their lifetimes or at death.

(Read more via Wall Street Journal Online.)

August 4, 2010

Curtis Granderson Launches Home Run Charity Challenge

Posted in Philanthropy at 2:01 pm by philanthropynews

In support of its all-star resident Curtis Granderson, 515 East 72nd Street/Miraval Living – a luxury condominium located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side – will donate $1,000 for every home run the New York Yankee hits starting August 1, 2010 until the end of the regular season, which hopefully includes the playoffs. The homerun event will raise money for Curtis Granderson’s charity, Grand Kids Foundation.

“It’s an honor to have such a well-respected athlete living here in our building, and also exciting that he’s a New York Yankee,” said Jim Sheehan, Project Manager of 515 East 72nd Street/Miraval Living. “We feel this is a great opportunity to not only cheer on our favorite player, but raise money for a good cause.”

With 62 games left in the Yankee’s season, Granderson has plenty of time to help the Yankees get into the playoffs, while hitting homeruns for his charity. “I am excited that Miraval Living is making a commitment to the Grand Kids Foundation and inner city education by making a donation for every homerun I hit for the rest of the season. It is a great way to tie together success on the field for the Yankees organization and impact off the field for so many students,” said Curtis Granderson.

(Read more at Look To The Stars.)