Philanthropy Notes: January 2012

Billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros announced that criminal justice expert Christopher Stone will head his mammoth philanthropic network starting in July. He replaces Aryeh Neier, who is retiring at age 74 after serving as the Open Society Foundation’s president since 1993. Stone is a professor at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. “He has a passion for changing things and great vision and an understanding of how to build institutions and reimagine them so they endure,” said Barry C. Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project.

A new study shows contributions to Roman Catholic congregations fell at more than half of parishes from 2008 through 2010, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports. Donations at about one fifth of parishes remained flat. Donations at 13 percent fell at first and then came back while 10 percent of parishes experienced increasing giving. The study was conducted by the Center for the Study of Church Management at Villanova University and the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership.

Volunteerism advocate Wendy Spencer, President Obama’s choice to run the Corporation for National and Community Service, was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. The nomination now moves to the full Senate. Spencer would replace Patrick Corvington who quit unexpectedly in May. Corvington was a senior official at the left-wing Annie E. Casey Foundation of Baltimore, Md., which granted funding to ACORN and other radical groups during his tenure.

More than half of donors age 60 and older are likely to make their donations online, according to a surprising new survey by fundraising company Dunham + Company of Plano, Texas. Although younger donors are more likely to give via the Internet, 51 percent of respondents 60 and up said they had made a least one contribution of $25 online in the previous year. Those older donors even gave more often than younger donors making an average of 14 donations online compared to just 11 for those under 40. “This study blows some holes in the conventional thinking about older donors and online giving,” said researchers who said older donors need to be reassured that giving money online is safe and secure.

GOLDMAN SACHS WATCH

Goldman Sachs alumnus Jon Corzine is facing nine lawsuits over the collapse of the MF Global Holdings Ltd. Corzine is a former New Jersey governor and former CEO of the company which filed for bankruptcy after making losing investments. About $1.2 billion is missing from commodity customers’ accounts. Corzine said he doesn’t know where the missing money is.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. disclosed that it spent $800,000 in the third quarter of 2011 to lobby the federal government on rules for implementing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law and on other financial services-related issues. That is 2.5 percent more than the $780,000 it spent in the same quarter the year before. The company lobbied lawmakers, the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.

Fitch Ratings has downgraded the long-term credit rating of Goldman Sachs, lowering it one notch to A from A+, Bloomberg News reports. “It’s hard to take anything positive from this; it speaks to the sentiment overall on global financial firms right now,” said Michael Nix of Greenwood, S.C.-based Greenwood Capital Inc.

 

Share this post!