April 1, 2011


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:

Dollar General
FelCor Lodging Trust
Gaylord Hotels
LAMAR Digital Media
The Home Depot
White Castle
Zale Corporation
Bergdorf Goodman
Coldwater Creek
Elizabeth Arden
Lord & Taylor
Neiman Marcus
Nest Fragrances
Ralph Lauren
The NBC Experience Store
T.J. Maxx

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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March 28, 2011

Lady Gaga and others contribute to ‘Songs for Japan’

Posted in Philanthropy at 6:21 pm by philanthropynews

Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Bob Dylan are among the artists featured on the “Songs for Japan” compilation released on Friday through iTunes.

Proceeds for the $9.99 release will benefit the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) and go towards earthquake and tsunami relief.

The 38-track compilation also includes songs from U2, John Lennon, Bruno Mars, Katy Perrt, Rihanna, Madonna, Eminem, Cee Lo Green, Lady Antebellum, Elton John, Queen and John Mayer. Purchasing the songs individually would cost about $38, so it’s a bargain and charity.

(Read more via On The Red Carpet.)

March 25, 2011

Practices benefit from philanthropist’s millions

Posted in Philanthropy at 5:57 pm by philanthropynews

Philanthropist Vivien Duffield has given £8.2 million to help a number of cultural schemes across England get built.

In all, 11 projects stand to benefit from the Clore Duffield Foundation, which has given more than £50 million since it was formed in December 2000.

She said: “I am delighted that we have been able to support such outstanding projects by some of the best architects in museums, galleries and theatres.”

The smallest amount given is to Eric Parry’s Holbourne Museum in Bath, which has benefitted from £125,000, and is due to open this May.

The largest awards of £2.5 million each have been given to Haworth Tompkins’ National Theatre in London, which is being revamped under a £70 million project, and Caruso St John’s £45 million redevelopment of Tate Britain in Pimlico, central London.

(Read more via BDOnline.)

March 21, 2011

No Surprises, Rural Philanthropy Still Lags Behind

Posted in Philanthropy at 8:08 pm by philanthropynews

The failure of foundations to put much grant money into rural nonprofits is historic and persistent.  Despite frequent promises to the contrary, foundations haven’t done much to narrow the disproportional gap between urban and rural groups’ access to foundation dollars.  The toll is increasingly evident in the rural nonprofits across the country that struggle to stay afloat every day.

In Monroe County, Georgia a community health center serving rural communities is closing.  As the director of the clinic noted, all too typical of rural areas that lose a crucial service, “Unfortunately, there is not another rural health center or clinic in the county.

(Read more via Non-Profit Quarterly.)

March 17, 2011

To Tax or Not To Tax Is Not The Question, But How?

Posted in Philanthropy at 4:13 pm by philanthropynews

Like many local governments struggling to overcome their fiscal woes, New Orleans has begun to ask if it still can afford to exempt private schools and universities, churches, charities and other nonprofit organizations from property taxes. Findings from a study released this week, and conducted for Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s Tax Fairness Commission, suggests that New Orleans will “ultimately require a significant contribution from properties that are off the tax roll,” noting that these same groups and organizations benefit from taxpayer-financed services. NOLA.com reports that the Bureau of Governmental Research calculated for its study that “43 percent of the total assessed value of property in Orleans Parish is exempt from taxation, with nearly one-quarter of the exempt property escaping taxes because it is owned by nonprofit groups.”

(Read more via The Non Profit Quarterly.)

March 14, 2011

Tishman Speyer regains footing

Posted in Philanthropy tagged , , at 4:13 pm by philanthropynews

After major suffering during downturn, firm is now buying, selling, leasing and restructuring at a fast clip

Tishman Speyer Properties may have suffered one of the biggest debacles of the downturn with Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village, but the firm appears to be getting its footing back.

Over the past year, the 33-year-old Manhattan-based company has gone on a spree of buying, selling, developing and leasing buildings, as well as restructuring some of its debt.

Last year, the firm bought around $1.06 billion of property around the world, up from $99 million in 2009, according to the Wall Street Journal. It wasn’t just a purchaser, though: The firm sold about $1.9 billion worth of property in 2010, up from $500 million a year earlier.

Experts agree that going back to the basics — which for the firm is office buildings, not the multifamily world — is serving Tishman Speyer well.

“They’ve righted their ship to concentrate on what they do best, which is the office sector,” said Ben Thypin, director of market analysis at Real Capital Analytics in Manhattan. “That makes sense. It reflects how forgiving the real estate market can be.”

(Read more via The Real Deal.)

March 10, 2011

Russian Charity Event Drew Putin, but Perhaps No Money

Posted in Philanthropy at 3:11 pm by philanthropynews

MOSCOW — Turn on Russian television and one is bound to see images of Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin skiing, riding a horse or flying a plane. He has also been shown shooting a tiger with a tranquilizer dart and chasing whales in a dinghy while wielding a crossbow. It is all part of a well-honed tough-guy image.

But in December, viewers saw his softer side. Mr. Putin, though not previously known to be musically gifted, sang a sweetly rendered version of “Blueberry Hill” in English, accompanied by a live jazz band. He also played a grand piano.

The occasion was billed as a charity event for hospitals treating children with cancer. But three months later, the mother of a 13-year-old girl with cancer who believed her daughter would benefit from the event is saying that no money ever made its way to the hospitals.

(Read more via New York Times.)

March 7, 2011

Long After Giving His Money Away, a Donor Takes the Pledge

Posted in Philanthropy at 3:10 pm by philanthropynews

The Shy Philanthropist is most decidedly going public. Charles F. Feeney, who made a fortune as co-founder of Duty Free Stores, has become the 59th signatory to the Giving Pledge, the project created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren E. Buffett to encourage the mega-rich to commit at least half their wealth to philanthropy.

Mr. Feeney, who eschews all the trappings of wealth, gave virtually all of his billions to the organizations now known as the Atlantic Philanthropies more than 25 years ago, but he insisted on keeping his philanthropy secret.

Organizations receiving grants from Atlantic were required to sign contracts that stipulated they would not reveal its support, and its Manhattan offices were hidden behind unmarked doors in a nondescript office building for years.

(Read more via New York Times.)

March 4, 2011

Rahm’s Tweeting Doppelganger Emerges to Claim Charity Donation

Posted in Philanthropy at 3:18 pm by philanthropynews

Throughout Rahm Emanuel’s Mayoral campaign in Chicago, the notoriously foul-mouthed politician was shadowed by a tweeter whose tweets under the nom de plume @mayoremanuel were a work of profane art. If you have not yet read them and have a tolerance for gritty language, you should. The doppelganger had many more Twitter followers (more than 39,000) than the real candidate (11,000).

The real Rahm was intrigued and declared that if the fake Rahm came forward he would give $5,000 to the charity of his choice. Some think he may have offered the reward to stop rumors that he himself was writing the expletive filled missives.

(Read more via The Nonprofit Quarterly.)

February 28, 2011

Urban Institute Announces $15 Million Initiative for Low-Income Families

Posted in Philanthropy at 9:07 pm by philanthropynews

The Urban Institute has announced the launch of a five-year, $15 million initiative designed to help states develop new approaches to the delivery of support services for low-income working families.

Funded by the Ford Foundation, the Work Support Strategies: Streamlining Access, Strengthening Families initiative has selected nine states — Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, and South Carolina — to receive grants of $250,000. Over the next year, the states will use the funds to assess their operations and develop new approaches to delivering work supports to low-income families. States that demonstrate they can execute their plans will then compete for three-year implementation grants of up to $500,000 per year.

(Read more via Philanthropy News Digest.)

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