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Opinion/Philanthropy Journal – Connections fuel charity

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By Todd Cohen

For a glimpse at how charity really works, consult media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post.

The tabloid has been all over the breakup of Andrew Cuomo, son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, and Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, daughter of the late U.S. Sen. Bobby Kennedy.

The couple split because of Kerry’s affair with Bruce Colley, a polo-playing playboy, the Post says.

And charity, the newspaper reports, was the matchmaker.

Follow closely: Ann Colley, Bruce’s wife, handles philanthropy for millionaire money manager Louis Bacon, and she got to know Kerry’s brother, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., through her support of his Riverkeeper charity to preserve the Hudson River, the Post says.

That tie, the Post says, led Kerry and Andrew Cuomo to Bacon’s private island off the Hamptons, where they mingled with Ann and Bruce Colley and became fast friends.

The Post’s report tracks not only an affair, but also the insider nature of much of charity.

Charities struggle to make ends meet, and raise money the best they can by playing by the “rules,” soliciting donors, holding events and seeking grants.

But life is not fair. Whether in business, politics, academia or charity, who you know can make a big difference.

So charities must work even harder to be efficient and effective in the services they deliver and the pitch they make to donors.

Working smart may not always trump insider connections, but it will make charity stronger and give insiders a tougher run for donors’ dollars.

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