April 29, 2011

Beyond Financial Oversight: Expanding the Board’s Role in the Pursuit of Sustainability

Posted in Philanthropy at 8:26 pm by philanthropynews

Throughout the ten years prior to the recession, it seemed that whenever anyone talked about boards and finances in the same sentence they were making a point about accountability. They were warning us that our Form 990s were now on GuideStar, so we’d better make sure that our boards were reading them. They were telling us to have an audit committee and a “Conflict of Interest” policy. They were telling us that we should study Sarbanes-Oxley and apply whatever we could to our own boards. They were making constant reference to a handful of nonprofit fraud cases, suggesting that this was what awaited us if our boards did not get very serious about oversight and accountability.

(Read more via The Non-profit Quarterly.)

April 25, 2011

Transparency as a Tool in Vetting Good Nonprofit Work

Posted in Philanthropy at 3:31 pm by philanthropynews

In the wake of the fallout from last week’s “60 Minutes” investigation into Greg Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute, nonprofit watchers are more closely examining sector spending. Reporter D.K. Row of The Oregonian, which has a nonprofit newsbeat, interviewed two well respected international development and relief nonprofits based in the Pacific Northwest – Mercy Corps and Medical Teams International – about their operations.

While the two programs differ in how they spend and report use of funds, both model financial transparency far beyond federal and state reporting requirements. Because of that, potential donors can clearly see how spending patterns align with mission and program focus.

(Read more via The Nonprofit Quarterly.)

April 22, 2011

High Point millions: two approaches to philanthropy

Posted in Philanthropy at 3:16 pm by philanthropynews

N.C. State announced today it will dedicate the $72 million Randall B. Terry, Jr., Companion Animal Veterinary Medical Center on May 6.

It’s named for the late High Point Enterprise publisher and furniture showroom owner whose charitable foundation made a gift of $20 million per Terry’s wishes.

By coincidence, we have another story today about High Point benefactors of higher education: “4 families give $10 million each to High Point University.”

I’ve written a number of times here about Terry’s foundation. At last report, it had market value exceeding $120 million — greater than Greensboro’s Joseph M. Bryan Foundation. Yet its primary contributions — millions each year — go to the vet school at State and to Woodberry Forest, a private prep school for boys in Virginia. Rarely, if ever, does any spare change fall to a worthy cause in High Point, where Terry accumulated all his wealth.

Terry, who was not married at the time of his 2004 death and had no children, kept several golden retrievers.

(Read more via News Record.)

April 18, 2011

Concerns that well-meaning non-profits could make situation in Japan worse

Posted in Philanthropy at 3:10 pm by philanthropynews

The scenes from Japan are almost unbearable to watch. More than 450,000 homeless. Shortages of gas and food. A crippled nuclear facility that seems to grow more unstable by the day.

It’s the type of calamity that makes you want to send a check to a relief organization. But philanthropic experts say there are more effective ways to spend your charitable dollars. And there are concerns that well-meaning nonprofits could make the situation in Japan even worse.

Through March, U.S. charities had raised $87 million for relief efforts, far less than the $210 million raised in the six days after an earthquake devastated Haiti in 2010, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

(Read more via USA Today.)

April 13, 2011

Smart Money Kids / Sowing seeds of philanthropy

Posted in Philanthropy at 3:11 pm by philanthropynews

While April usually means showers to you, it’s a good time for those in financial literacy — it’s Financial Literacy Month. And an important component of teaching our kids financial literacy is introducing them to philanthropy.

A reader came to me a few weeks ago and asked about the topic.

“Tom, we are giving allowance to our children so that they can have money in their pocket to practice,” he said. “What is the best way to take that portion of that allowance our son is saving and give it away in the most effective manner?”

Here’s an option. Take a look at the website http://www.DonorsChoose.org.

This organization was created by Charles Best, a teacher at a high school in the Bronx, in response to a scarcity of learning materials in the school. Donors Choose aims to connect people whose schools lack necessary materials with charitable-minded individuals who want to ensure that their contributions are directed to classrooms in need.

(Read more via Westport News.)

April 11, 2011

Collaboration: More Than a Buzzword In the Nonprofit Sector

Posted in Philanthropy at 3:07 pm by philanthropynews

As a tangible sign of the new importance of collaboration within the nonprofit sector, on Monday the Lodestar Foundation named the Adoption Coalition of Texas the 2011 winner of the $162,500 Collaboration Prize. This year nonprofit organizations nationwide submitted a record-breaking 807 applications for the competition, which a selection panel of foundation leaders then narrowed down a pool of eight finalists, all of whom will receive $12,500.

Equipped with a $63,000 planning grant from the Austin Community Foundation in 2003, a group of representatives from five nonprofit child-serving agencies and the Texas Department of Child Services came together to share their resources and to figure out a way to increase the overall number of adoptions from the state’s foster care system.

(Read more via The Nonprofit Quarterly.)

April 8, 2011

Progress! Two Maryland Anti-Trafficking Bills Head to Governer, More Advocacy Still Needed

Posted in Philanthropy at 2:40 pm by philanthropynews

Great headway is being made in the fight against human trafficking in Maryland. Two important bills, which provide funding for education on human trafficking and investigations of the crimes, have passed both the House and Senate and are now headed to the Governor’s desk for signatures. However, three critical bills remain in need of support. Will you join the over 26,000 Change.org members fighting for an end to human trafficking in Maryland?

The two bills in most critical need of support are HB418/SB247, which would allow Maryland to seize the ill-gotten profits (asset forfeiture) of human trafficking to help victims and HB1304, which would post the National Human Trafficking Hotline in truck stops and rest areas around the state. Both bills must move forward by Monday, April 11 at midnight.

The Asset Forfeiture bill (HB418/SB247) has passed the Senate and is awaiting a vote in the House Judiciary Committee. However Chairman Vallario of the House Judiciary Committee has indicated he might not bring the bill to a vote at all. You can ask him to bring this bill up for a favorable vote by calling 800-492-7122, ext. 3488 or 410- 841-3488 or 301-858-3488.

(Read more via Change.org.)

April 4, 2011

Restore’s Freedom Campaign: Long-Term Aftercare for NYC Trafficking Victims

Posted in Philanthropy at 2:38 pm by philanthropynews

New York City, one of the world’s human trafficking hubs, has no long-term aftercare facilities for international trafficking victims. This despite it’s 2007 Anti-Human Trafficking Law, hailed as one of the toughest in any state, which outlines the need for victim services. Fortunately, Restore NYC, a non-profit organization and part of the mayor’s anti-trafficking task force, is going to change that.

Restore provides case management and specialized legal, medical, and employment services for victims. New York’s two major women’s shelters offer help to trafficking survivors, but do not focus on providing any sort of long-term care. Sanctuary for Families offers “intensive legal, counseling and psychiatric support to victims of this horrific form of modern-day slavery, while doing extensive outreach and trainings.” Safe Horizon has a trafficking hotline and offers education as well. Neither are equipped to offer the kind of aftercare victims of human trafficking desperately need.

As Change.org blogger Amanda Kloer pointed out, many trafficking victims have a greater need for safety and emotional and mental rehabilitation than the average domestic violence survivor. Traffickers, AKA “extremely dangerous, gun-toting criminals,” don’t take kindly to losing their lucrative human property and can head straight for domestic violence shelters to reclaim their victims. Not to mention that most international victims don’t speak English, don’t have job skills, have no idea how to care for themselves in America, and no way to protect themselves if they’re sent back home.

(Read more via Change.org.)

April 1, 2011

OVER 1000 BUILDINGS JOIN THE AUTISM SPEAKS LIGHT IT UP BLUE CAMPAIGN TO CELEBRATE WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY AND AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH

Posted in Philanthropy tagged , at 7:30 pm by philanthropynews

Iconic Buildings and Landmarks in Over 180 U.S. Cities and 30 Countries Around the World will Shine a Bright Blue Light on Autism

NEW YORK, N.Y. (April,1 2011) – Tonight, Autism Speaks, North America’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, will kick-off its 2nd annual Light It Up Blue (LIUB) campaign – a unique global initiative to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day and help raise funds and awareness of autism as a growing public health crisis.

More than 1000 structures in over 180 U.S. cities and 30 countries will join Autism Speaks to shine a bright light on autism. Iconic landmarks around the world – including the Empire State Building and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City, the Willis Tower in Chicago, Universal Studios in Hollywood and Orlando, STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, along with the Niagara Falls and CN Tower in Canada, Gano Bhabon, the Official Residence of the Prime Minister and hundreds of other buildings in Bangladesh, Christ the Redeemer Statue in Brazil and the Sydney Opera House in Australia – as well as airports, bridges, museums, concert halls, schools/universities, restaurants, and retail stores, will light up in bright blue this evening to help kick off Autism Awareness Month and celebrate World Autism Awareness Day on April 2.

The public can actively participate in LIUB by supporting the campaign virtually with the launch of a free Light It Up Blue iPhone App and new Build a Blue Website. The LIUB app is available at the iTunes Store and allows users to become part of this global initiative by turning their own pictures blue with a choice of five different style frames. Users are encouraged to upload the photos to the live stream on LightItUpBlue.org. In an effort to help raise much needed funds for research, participants can also Build a Blue Website and ask friends and family to support Autism Speaks by making a donation to their personal page.

To coincide with the campaign, Autism Speaks launched a new 30 second PSA starring 5th graders from Pelham, N.Y., singing an original song composed by one of their classmates for LIUB. The PSA debuted the week of March 21 on broadcast and cable television and SiriusXM satellite radio and is live on AutismSpeaks.org. As part of its ongoing, award-winning public service ad campaign, to promote autism awareness and encourage participation in the LIUB initiative, Autism Speaks has once again produced web banners that can be downloaded for free.

Individuals interested in finding fun and creative ways to participate in LIUB should visit LightItUpBlue.org. The website provides a number of ideas from hosting autism-themed gatherings to viewings of autism-themed films and TV programs to wearing the Autism Speaks puzzle piece pin or by purchasing specially marked blue light bulbs and LED lanterns sold exclusively at Home Depot to light the exterior of your house. The site also accepts donations to fund autism awareness and research efforts.

“We are very grateful to these landmark buildings, and dedicated corporate, retail and media partners for illuminating blue tonight to support World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month,” says Suzanne Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks. “Tonight, our message of autism awareness will certainly reach millions of people around the world as we light the skies like a beacon of hope for all those affected by this public health crisis.”

The following Autism Speaks corporate and retail partners will Light It Up Blue by raising autism awareness in stores starting on April 1 and 2:

Toys“R”Us
Build-A-Bear
Dollar General
etnies
FelCor Lodging Trust
Gaylord Hotels
LAMAR Digital Media
Lindt
The Home Depot
White Castle
Zappos
Zale Corporation
Bergdorf Goodman
Bloomingdale’s
Coldwater Creek
Elizabeth Arden
Lord & Taylor
Neiman Marcus
Nest Fragrances
Ralph Lauren
Scentsy
The NBC Experience Store
T.J. Maxx
Walgreens

About Autism
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 110 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The prevalence of autism increased 57 percent from 2002 to 2006. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is North America’s largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $160 million to research and developing innovative new resources for families. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks has created resources and programs including the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, Autism Speaks’ Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and several other scientific and clinical programs. Notable awareness initiatives include the establishment of the annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, which Autism Speaks celebrates through its Light it Up Blue initiative. Also, Autism Speaks award-winning “Learn the Signs” campaign with the Ad Council has received over $258 million in donated media. Autism Speaks’ family resources include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for newly-diagnosed families, a School Community Tool Kit and a community grant program. Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the government’s response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral treatments in 24 states thus far, with bills pending in an additional 12 states. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit http://www.autismspeaks.org.

About the Co-Founders
Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Senior Advisor at Lee Equity Partners and Chairman and CEO of the Palm Beach Civic Association. He served as Vice Chairman of General Electric; and as the Chief Executive Officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. He also serves on the boards of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, Mission Product, LLC and the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Suzanne Wright is a Trustee Emeritus of Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater. Suzanne has received numerous awards, the Women of Distinction Award from Palm Beach Atlantic University, the CHILD Magazine Children’s Champions Award, Luella Bennack Volunteer Award, Spirit of Achievement award by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s National Women’s Division and The Women of Vision Award from the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 2008, the Wrights were named to the Time 100 Heroes and Pioneers category, a list of the most influential people in the world, for their commitment to global autism advocacy. They have also received numerous awards such as the first ever Double Helix Award for Corporate Leadership, NYU Child Advocacy Award, Castle Connolly National Health Leadership Award and The American Ireland Fund Humanitarian Award. In May of 2010 they received Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degrees from St. John’s University in Queens and delivered the commencement address as the first married couple to be bestowed such an honor.

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