Monthly Notes

Philanthropy Notes: January 2015


Watchdog.org reports that the Ford Foundation, the fourth-wealthiest philanthropy in the U.S. with $11.1 billion in assets and income of $1.5 billion (in fiscal 2012), is pouring major resources into progressive groups involved in the fight over “net neutrality,” a fashionable liberal idea that the Internet needs more government regulation. “If you are a foundation for justice in the world, and you don’t understand that the Internet is going to be a major battleground in this century, and you’re not engaged in that fight and supporting people who are concerned about access and security, you’re going to be left out of one of the most important justice issues of the day,” Ford president Darren Walker said.

Walker neglected to say, notes Watchdog.org, that Ford “stands to earn millions of dollars in profits from a nearly billion-dollar investment portfolio that includes companies that would profit from net neutrality regulations,” the website reports. Ford’s investments in Google, Microsoft, and close to 500 companies netted the foundation more than $402 million in stock-based profits in 2012 alone.

In a swansong of a study, retiring Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) slammed the U.S. tax code. As the Washington Times reports, Coburn’s “Tax Decoder” report warns that “the tax code is so peppered with special giveaways that companies such as Facebook end up getting refunds, and high-profile athletes and artists use their tax-free foundations to give friends jobs while avoiding taxes—all leading to higher income tax rates for the rest of us.”

One example from the foundation world that fits Coburn’s description: Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation blew big bucks on overhead expenses while devoting almost none of its resources to actual charitable endeavors. The foundation of the New York-based entertainer, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, took in $2.66 million in 2012, but paid out only $5,000 in grants while spending $50,000 on social media projects. The philanthropy spent more than $500,000 on its 23-event “Born To Be Brave” bus tour, which supposedly sought to reach out to disillusioned young people. It also spent $406,552 on legal fees, $300,000 for “strategic development,” and $150,000 for “philanthropic consulting.”

The wealthiest Americans have scaled back their charitable giving in recent years, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s “How America Gives 2014.” Comparing 2012 to 2006, those earning $200,000 or more reduced the share of their income they gave away by 4.6 percent. In the same period those earning less than $100,000 donated 4.5 percent more of their income. The study also determined: the total donated by Americans who itemize their tax deductions ($180 billion); the share of Americans’ total income, after deductions, given to charity (3 percent); the median income, after deductions, of people who itemize ($82,823); and the median charitable contribution ($3,176).

 

GOLDMAN SACHS WATCH

Likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received about $400,000 from Goldman Sachs for delivering two speeches to the bank’s clients in October 2013, according to media reports. Since the Left regards the bank as the “antichrist,” as the New York Post’s Michael Goodwin puts it, this coziness with Goldman may work against Clinton’s candidacy. This is especially true given the growing popularity in progressive circles of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who longs to take down Wall Street.

If you want to work at Goldman Sachs, go to New York University. According to Business Insider, NYU has the most alumni (428) now working at Goldman. Second is the London School of Economics (419 alumni), followed by Cornell University (359 alumni), Harvard University (339 alumni), and Columbia University (311 alumni).

 

Matthew Vadum

The author of Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers (WND Books, 2011), Vadum writes and speaks widely on ACORN and other radical advocacy…
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