Nonprofit news roundup for April 2, 2008

Education expert Mel Levine accused of sexual abuse

Mel Levine, co-founder of education nonprofit All Kinds of Minds in Chapel Hill, N.C., is the subject of a civil lawsuit for allegedly sexually abusing seven former patients over the course of 17 years, The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., reported April 2. Levine, a renowned child-development expert who has made appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and whose nonprofit is financed by Charles Schwab, is also a faculty member at the Clinical Center for the Study of Development at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Anonymous philanthropy on the rise

Last year was a “banner year for anonymous charity,” with 87 gifts of $1 million or more, a total of nearly $1.1 billion, made anonymously, The Los Angeles Times reported March 31. Though most donors still prefer to be recognized, the trend is growing, often as a way of avoiding public scrutiny or family jealousy.

Green activism seen as rallying point for Jewish philanthropy

Environmental activism could be the rallying point that reignites Jewish philanthropy, The Jerusalem Post reported March 28. An unpublished report by UJA-Federation New York and the CRB Foundation says the environment could bring together younger generations, who are increasingly disenchanted with affiliated Judaism, with older Jews in Israel and worldwide.

Gore launches $300M environmental campaign

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore is launching a three-year, $300 million campaign to mobilize Americans to push for aggressive reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions, The Washington Post reported March 31. Private contributors have already committed half the needed campaign funds, and Gore himself may have contributed more than $2.7 million of the proceeds from his recent book and several international prizes, including the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Rising utility costs pinch aid programs

Energy-assistance programs are seeing more requests for assistance from middle-class workers as the cost of utilities rises, The Washington Post reported March 31. In the Washington, D.C., region, major electric utilities have raised rates by 47 percent on average since 2001.

$11 million gift exemplifies philanthropy boom in Ottawa

A recent $11 million donation by the family of the late Irving Greenberg towards renovation of the Queensway Carleton Hospital is part of what some are calling a philanthropy boom in Ottawa, The Ottawa Citizen reported March 26. Though Canadian provincial governments cover much of the costs of renovation projects like the hospital’s, “philanthropy is becoming more important” in Canadian cities and gifts like the Greenberg’s encourage others to give.

Steinberg Trust announces record award for playwrights

The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust has launched the biggest award in the history of American playwriting, a $200,000 check to be given to a different mid-career playwright once every two years, Bloomberg News reported March 28. The Steinberg Trust, which has over $100 million in assets, also announced $50,000 biennial awards for young playwrights.

Poor lack access to decision-makers, says Dulany

What the poor and marginalized most lack is access to decision-makers says philanthropist Peggy Dulany of her work in South Africa, Business Day reported March 27. Dulany, daughter of U.S. statesman David Rockefeller, founded Synergos in 1987 to forge relationships between political and business leaders and grassroots groups like its latest endorsement, vocational-training initiative Go for Gold.

French charity workers in Darfur ‘orphans’ case released

A presidential pardon has freed the six French charity workers condemned to eight years’ hard labor in Chad for trying to fly 103 children they claimed were Darfur orphans to France for adoption, Al Jazeera reported March 31. Chadian President Idriss Deby, who had already agreed to let the workers serve out their terms in France, issued a formal pardon on Monday.

Turkish billionaire Özyeğın seeks ‘living’ philanthropy

Hüsnü Özyeğın İlköğretım Okulu is one of 36 schools built by “Bosphorous billionaire” Hüsnü Özyeğın, who made his fortune selling his bank a couple years ago, CNN said in a blog March 20. Özyeğın, who believes it’s important to see the results of his philanthropy while he’s still alive, says “I want to be remembered as the biggest philanthropist in Turkey.”

Low-income students feel left-out at Stanford

Despite need-blind admission policies and highly-publicized financial aid programs, low-income students still feel left-out at Stanford University, where only 12 percent of the students receive Pell Grants, The San Francisco Chronicle reported March 31. Students say money matters most before they ever enroll in college, though, when elite preparatory programs can still determine who makes the cut at universities like Stanford.

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