Weekly News Recap: February 17, 2017

Canada's storyteller Stuart McLean passed away on February 15. (Photo: Scott Blackburn/CBC)

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. — Max Planck, German quantum theorist and Nobel Prize winner

Philanthropy in the era of Trump


Philanthropic personalities

  • Four Questions About the Future of Gates Philanthropy (Inside Philanthropy) Today, Bill and Melinda Gates released their latest annual letter, which takes stock of some of the progress they’ve made so far with their philanthropy—but leaves key questions unanswered about where Gates giving might go from here. 2/14/17

  • The Latest Tech Player to Step Up Big (and Early) for Philanthropy: Snapchat (Inside Philanthropy) Snap! Chat! "Last week, Spiegel and Snapchat co-founder Bobby Murphy announced the creation of the Snap Foundation, and by the looks of things, it’s going to have some serious money behind it. According to reports, Spiegel and Murphy are planning to donate 13 million Class A shares of Snapchat stock to the foundation over the next 15 to 20 years. With its last private valuation at $25 billion, it could mean hundreds of millions of dollars for the initiative when the company goes public." 2/10/17

Philanthropic controversy


  • Man has charity donation frozen by US because his name is Mr Islam (Independent) Wow! Eventbrite is a website we all use for events and fundraising. It appears that Eventbrite has a "list" and if your name appears on it, you can't use their services. 2/11/17

  • Yale Will Drop John Calhoun’s Name From Building (New York Times) In case you wondering if this ever happens. Well, it does. "After a swelling tide of protests, the president of Yale announced on Saturday that the university would change the name of a residential college commemorating John C. Calhoun, the 19th-century white supremacist statesman from South Carolina. The college will be renamed for Grace Murray Hopper, a trailblazing computer scientist and Navy rear admiral who received a master’s degree and a doctorate from Yale." 2/11/17

  • Students sue George Mason over Koch brother donation records (Washington Business Journal) "Students at George Mason University are suing the school and its private foundation, seeking information about any agreements GMU might have made when it accepted donations from billionaires Charles and David Koch." 2/10/17


  • Opinion: Donors choosier about where their money goes (Edmonton Journal) ALBERTA STORY "Donors increasingly see themselves as change-makers. They hold an altruistic concern for people and their well-being. In response, many philanthropic and non-profit organizations are applying business-focused language to attract donors (“investment,” “return on investment,” and “outcomes”) but words are not sufficient to gain donor interest. Successful organizations will be accountable, transparent and seen as effectively achieving social goals and demonstrating outcomes." 2/10/17


Life and career hacks

Uncommon knowledge

  • Code-Dependent: Pros and Cons of the Algorithm Age (Pew Research Center) If you ever need to nerd out on algorithms, this is a great place to start. "Algorithms are aimed at optimizing everything. They can save lives, make things easier and conquer chaos. Still, experts worry they can also put too much control in the hands of corporations and governments, perpetuate bias, create filter bubbles, cut choices, creativity and serendipity, and could result in greater unemployment". 2/8/17

  • Best of Connections 2016 (AFP) AFP, through a negotiated relationship with the Association of Prospect Researchers in Advancement (APRA), is making this compendium of prospect research nerdiness available to us lowly fundraisers. Good stuff. Make tea. Nerd out. February 2017

Trends and shifts

Reports and studies

  • Most Couples Discuss Where to Give but Not Always How (Inside Philanthropy) Interesting research into how couples give. 2/13/17

  • Consultation for Energizing Eyes High comes to a close (The Gauntlet) CALGARY STORY "Results of the three-month public consultation for Energizing Eyes High were published on the University of Calgary’s website on Jan. 31. The results outlined feedback from community members regarding the U of C’s new strategic direction. The published results include a consultation summary and three working papers based on analyses of the three-month period’s findings." 2/14/17

  • CRA’s Report on the Charities Program 2015-2016 (AFP) CANADIAN STORY Marc Blumberg dissects the recent CRA report. "As a practitioner, one of the most frustrating parts of my job is the slow response time of CRA dealing with charity applications and written requests. Although we know that CRA has hired a large number of people to help with the backlog, it will take a long time for the problem to be dealt with." 2/15/17

Large gifts

  • Pirate Club receives largest donation in ECU history (The East Carolinian) The East Carolina University Pirate Club received $2.21 million for the Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Southside Renovation project set to be completed in the fall of 2018. The gift is from an anonymous donor. East Carolina University is a public, doctoral/research university in Greenville, North Carolina. 2/15/17

  • St. Elizabeth’s Hospital receives $1 million donation (Belleville News-Democrat) Nice planned gift! "Catherine Taylor Yank, who owns Taylor Roofing Co. with her husband, Greg Yank, gave $1 million in the form of a life insurance policy to the St. Elizabeth’s Foundation." St. Elizabeth's Hospital is located in Belleville, Illinois. 2/16/17

  • Cornell College's Largest Donation (Iowa Public Radio) "Mount Vernon's Cornell College is celebrating its largest cash gift in its history, and is immediately investing it in a science center. The $20-million gift comes from 1965 alumna, Jean Russell, now a St. Louis medical doctor." Cornell College is a private liberal arts college in Mount Vernon, Iowa. 2/15/17

  • $5M Potter Foundation Donation for Vocational Education and Training (Probono News - Australia) "A $5 million donation from The Ian Potter Foundation will help fund a new state-of-the-art skills development hub at Victoria University’s Sunshine campus to tackle job shortages in Melbourne’s West." 2/15/17

  • Donation to expand UNH ocean engineering program (The New Hampshire) The University of New Hampshire received $3 million to expand marine research and opportunities for undergraduate students. The gift was donated by an anonymous source. 2/14/17

  • Buoyed by a $2.5M anonymous donation, UNC Rex expands behavioral health space (Triangle Business Journal) "The University of North Carolina Rex Healthcare is moving forward with its plans for a new space for behavioral health patients after receiving a $2.5 million donation from an anonymous donor. The new space will serve as a holding area for behavioral health patients who have come to the emergency department (ED) for treatment." Rex Hospital is a general hospital located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is the capital city's oldest hospital, founded by a bequest from John T Rex. 2/14/17

  • LHSF receives massive $5.25M donation (CTV News) LONDON STORY The London Health Sciences Foundation (LHSF) has announced that former University of Western Ontario economics professor John Knight left the LHSF $5.25 million from his estate. The funding will lead to new treatments for ovarian cancer. 2/14/17

  • Russell Salvatore makes $1 million donation to ECMC (The Buffalo News) "Restaurateur Russell J. Salvatore [..] announced a commitment to donate $1 million to Erie County Medical Center's capital campaign for a new trauma center emergency room." 2/14/17

  • Exclusive: Planned Parenthood Just Got a $1 Million Donation From This Businesswoman (Fortune)Elaine Wynn has donated $1 million to the women's health organization, “As a woman, a mother, and a grandmother, I’m proud to do what I can to help protect access to reproductive health care,” the billionaire said. Elaine Farrell Wynn is an American businesswoman, philanthropist and art collector. She co-founded Mirage Resorts and Wynn Resorts with her former husband, Steve Wynn. She has supported education causes, the performing arts and the visual arts. 2/14/17

  • McDaniel College Receives $1.75 MIL Donation (Patch.com) "McDaniel College has received a $1.75 million gift from Charles A. Boehlke, Jr., a 1978 alumnus of the college and current member of the McDaniel Board of Trustees, to establish the Charles A. Boehlke, Jr., Engaged Faculty Fellows program." McDaniel College is a private four-year liberal arts college in Westminster, Maryland. 2/13/17

  • Missouri receives ninth 7-figure donation toward stadium facility (SEC Country) For those of you paying attention, we have reported on most of these gifts. "Missouri’s athletics department has announced that it has received its ninth, seven-figure gift toward the facility, which is slated to open before the 2019 football season. An anonymous donor made a $2 million gift [..]." 2/13/17

  • Toledo Opera gets $1 million challenge donation (The Blade) "Toledo Opera launched the public phase of its $4 million Opera Sound Vision Endowment Campaign with news of a $1 million challenge donation from the children and grandchildren of longtime Toledo Opera patron Lucille Gorski." 2/11/17

  • $10 million gift will help create WVU business school complex; Stansbury Hall to be razed (MetroNews) "A $10 million gift to West Virginia University will make way for a new business education complex. Bob and Laura Reynolds’ donation will fund the construction of buildings in their name at WVU College of Business and Economics school complex proposed for Morgantown’s waterfront." 2/10/17

  • Malone University receives $1 million music program donation (The Charlotte Observer) "[..] Malone University has received a $1 million donation for its music program from Ann Leech. Leech instructed the money go toward purchasing Steinway pianos and creating an endowment before dying in 2016 at the age of 94. 2/10/17

  • Supervalu Foundation announces $1 million donation (The Packer) "Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Supervalu Foundation plans to donate $1 million to nonprofits that provide hunger relief. Supervalu Foundation said the money will be given to 34 nonprofit organization to benefit communities in 17 states and the District of Columbia." 2/9/17

  • Louisville Zoo gets donation from Papa John's (ABC) "A new interactive snow leopard exhibit is coming to the Louisville Zoo thanks to a major donation, a $1 million gift, from John Schnatter, the founder of Papa John’s Pizza." 2/9/17

  • JHU Center for Health Security receives $16M grant from Open Philanthropy Project (HUB) "The Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has been awarded a three-year, $16 million grant from the Open Philanthropy Project to support the center's work on strengthening health security and public health preparedness." 2/9/17

  • Princess Haya and children make Dh145 million donation to needy families in Jordan (The National) "Princess Haya bint Al Hussein and her children have donated 28 million Jordanian dinars ($40 million USD) to the Tkiyet Um Ali charity to fight hunger and poverty across Jordan." 2/9/17

  • Isle of Wight Schools gets its largest donation ever: $3 million from Smithfield Foods (The Virginian Pilot) "Smithfield Foods announced its Legacy Project, a $3 million donation to Smithfield High School [located in Isle of Wight County, Virginia,] that will fund three major construction projects, mostly connected to the school’s career and technical education program." 2/9/17

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