Philanthropy Notes: July 2014

Walmart Derangement Syndrome? More than half the members of the New York City Council signed a letter demanding that Walmart stop giving millions of dollars in charitable contributions to groups active in the city, the New York Post reports. Twenty-six of the 51 members of the Council claimed in the letter that Walmart only gives money as part of a cynical campaign to enter the local market. “We know how desperate you are to find a foothold in New York City to buy influence and support here,” says the letter addressed to Walmart and the Walton Family Foundation. “Stop spending your dangerous dollars in our city,” the letter demands. “That’s right: this is a cease-and-desist letter.” Left-wingers abhor Walmart because it’s big, successful, and resists unionization drives.

The number of college presidents earning $1 million-plus more than doubled in 2013, rising to nine from just four in 2012, according to the survey carried out by the Chronicle of Higher Education, which factored in salary, bonuses, deferred pay, retirement, and severance. Ohio State president Gordon Gee (who has since left the post to lead West Virginia University) topped the list earning $6.1 million as president.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation “has decided not to fund abortion,” according to Melinda Gates. Gates and her husband Bill now believe, she says, that the continuing controversy over abortion “is threatening to get in the way of the life-saving consensus regarding basic family planning.” But Fr. Shenan Boquet of Human Life International said the announcement constitutes an “outright deception.” The foundation “has in the past and will continue to give tens of millions of dollars to the largest abortion providers in the world, including International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International,” Boquet predicts.

 

GOLDMAN SACHS WATCH

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is appealing a decision by European Union antitrust authorities that underscores the legal risks “that may be faced by private equity firms whose portfolio companies become embroiled in cartels,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The appeal, filed with the General Court in Luxembourg, challenges the 37 million euro ($51 million) penalty imposed on Goldman in April over its involvement in a power cable cartel price-fixing scandal. Goldman shared the monetary penalty with an Italian cable maker that the bank’s private-equity arm had purchased in 2005 but sold by early 2010.

Joining in on the latest leftist fad, Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who reportedly earns more than $55 million a year, told CBS that he too is concerned about so-called income inequality, which he says is “a very destabilizing thing in the country.… It’s a very big issue and one that has to be dealt with.” Too much wealth has gone “to too few of the people,” he said. “The economic system has to do two things. You have to grow a pie and you have to distribute it in a proper way. Both contribute to the stability of society.”

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