Golden West founders give away $1.3 billion

Here are the week’s top nonprofit stories reported elsewhere:

* Golden West Financial Corp founders Herbert M. and Marion O. Sandler donated roughly $1.3 billion to an unidentified charity last month, part of their efforts to give away their fortune before they die, the Los Angeles Times reported July 11.

* Bill Gates and Bill Clinton appear to be partnering together to address AIDS, though details on a possible partnership between the two men’s foundations are still hazy, with a Gates spokeswoman calling their trip to the African nation of Lesotho a “learning trip,” The Wall Street Journal reported July 11. Commentators see the possible union as a joining of different, yet complementary styles that could lead to “the first super NGO,” the article said.

* Four supporters of resigned Harvard University President Lawrence Summers are withholding record-sized donations totaling $390 million from the university until a permanent replacement is named, The Wall Street Journal reported July 13.

* New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, City Council members and Louisiana state officials have reached an agreement that will allow neighborhoods to produce their own recovery plans by the year’s end with the help of a $3.5 million Rockefeller Foundation grant that will pay for consultants to help produce the individual plans, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported July 6.

* The American Civil Liberties Union withdrew controversial proposals to prevent board members from publicly criticizing the organization, citing concerns over creating a “chilling effect” on board members’ freedom of speech, The New York Times reported July 12.

* Howard Buffett, Warren Buffett’s son and recipient of $1.1 billion of the elder Buffett’s disbursed fortune, plans to operate his Howard G. Buffett Foundation until a date in the distant future, at which point he will give away his remaining assets and shut down, the Chicago Tribune reported July 6. The foundation, whose assets will soon increase to $2.2 billion from $130 million, supports efforts to increase food production and clean water in Africa.

* According to an Ernst & Young report, many nonprofit hospitals plan to voluntarily implement the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 in response to increasing public and government scrutiny of their financial reporting, the Healthcare Financial Management Association reported July 11.

* Thomas R. Suozzi, candidate for the New York democratic gubernatorial nomination, attacked his rival, state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who oversees New York nonprofits and charities, saying he was violating state conflict-of-interest regulations by sitting on the board of his family’s charitable trust, the New York Times reported July 11.

* A British commission studying the problem of money lying unclaimed in bank accounts is set to create guidelines for when the money can be released to charities, bracing Britain for an outflow of at least US$1 billion, the (London) Telegraph reported July 7.

* Salvation Army officials issued a mailed apology to donors in Manitoba, Canada, for a fundraising letter written by an outside firm and sent before it was properly edited, that contained wording that seemed “heavy-handed” to recipients, the Canadian Broadcasting Company reported July 11.

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