Philanthropy Notes: May 2015

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama donated $70,712 to charitable causes in 2014, 14.8 percent of their reported income of $477,383, the Washington Post reports. The largest donation ($22,012) went to Rockville, Md.-based Fisher House Foundation, which provides inexpensive housing for the families of military personnel undergoing medical treatment. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, gave a comparatively paltry $7,380 (1.9 percent) last year on total income of $388,844.

AARP’s charitable arm, AARP Foundation, recently took in a three-year $3 million federal grant from the taxpayer-supported Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The funds come out of CNCS’s Social Innovation Fund, a community organizing slush fund that the Obama administration uses to enrich its left-wing friends and allies in the nonprofit community. The $3 million that AARP will allocate to subgrantees is earmarked for the Women’s Economic Stability Initiative, or WESI, an “economic stability” program aimed at low-income women ages 50 to 64 in select Southern and Southwestern states. Whether the program actually accomplishes anything, much of the government money is likely to end up in the hands of left-wing community organizers. Since 2001, AARP Foundation has received close to $1 billion in federal grants, according to

After years of not making profit, National Review has decided to formally incorporate as a nonprofit, editor Rich Lowry announced. “The advantage of the move is that all the generous people who give us their support every year will now be able to give tax-deductible contributions, and that we will be able to do more fundraising, in keeping with our goals to keep growing in the years ahead.” The magazine will soon merge with its nonprofit sister organization, National Review Institute, and a few months later a unified National Review will emerge as a nonprofit corporation. “We want to go out and tap the conservative philanthropic community to get even bigger and better,” Lowry said.



Goldman Sachs does a terrible job managing mutual funds, a New York Times analysis revealed. The review determined that most mutual funds run by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo “have underperformed their basic benchmarks over the last 10 years.” Goldman’s performance was the worst. “Just 12 percent of its mutual funds did better than an analyst-assigned benchmark during a 10-year period. That compared to 25 percent of mutual funds at Wells Fargo, 31 percent at JPMorgan Chase and 38 percent at Morgan Stanley.” In addition, Goldman’s average annual fees were the second-highest among the banks, weighing in at 1.2 percent. Morgan Stanley was even more fee-happy, topping the list because it charges 1.24 percent.

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