Four Newcomers Shake Up Bloomberg Brackets for a Cause

Four Newcomers Shake Up Bloomberg Brackets for a Cause

Mar 24

March Madness isn’t just for small bets at the office. For some of the biggest names in business, it means big money. Big money for charity, that is. Bloomberg brought together what they refer to as “a group of titans from the world of business and finance” to fill out March Madness brackets for its Brackets for a Cause initiative. Each of the participants has picked a charity and donated $10,000. When all is said and done, the total pot—upwards of $350,000 this year—will be divided between the charities of the three participants with the most accurate brackets. This is the third year of Brackets for a Cause, and this year some newcomers are shaking things up. William E. Ford, President and CEO of General Atlantic, is playing for Shining Hope for Communities, an organization that combats gender inequality and extreme poverty in urban slums by linking tuition-free schools for girls to holistic social services for all. So far, Ford is in 8th place, with a total score of 83 and 37 of 63 correct picks. Tony Ressler, Chairman, CEO, and founder of Ares Management—and co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks—is playing for the Atlanta Hawks Foundation, whose mission is to increase access for metro Atlanta’s youth to play, grow, and learn life and leadership skills through basketball. So far, Ressler has 79 points, with 34 out of 63 correct picks David Solomon, President and Co-Chief Operating Officer of Goldman Sachs, is playing for Room to Read, an organization working to transform the lives of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. At this time, Solomon has 77 points, with 34 of 63 correct picks. Ken Moelis, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Moelis & Company, is playing for Minds Matter New York, whose mission is to help accomplished high school students from low-income families by preparing them for college success. Right now, Moelis is right behind Ford, with 83 points and 36 out of 63 correct picks. “This is hugely exciting for us,” said Jason Kelly, Bloomberg Executive Editor. “This is the third year we’re doing this contest, and it’s amazing how many people really pour in to participate. The spirit of competition is alive and well on Wall Street.” The current leader is Jeannie Buss, President and Part-Owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, with 89 points and 39 of 63 correct picks. Defending...

Detroit Institute of Arts Secures Nonprofit Funding

Detroit Institute of Arts Secures Nonprofit Funding

Mar 23

Culture is an important part of cities, and the arts are an important part of culture. That’s why cities like Detroit need to protect museums and galleries even when money is tight. Recently, a federal judge approved Detroit’s bankruptcy plan, which allows the city to eliminate $7 billion in debt, paying creditors pennies on the dollar. While that plan does harm pensioners, they have faced worse cuts in previous models, and this plan is working in part because the city no longer needs to worry about the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). The DIA is an important part of the city’s cultural heritage and is home to numerous works of art. All together, the institute is valued at roughly $4.6 billion. Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Matisse, Bruegel the Elder. It’s an impressive collection, but it’s also expensive to maintain. In 2013, the city’s emergency manager said that the DIA would have to chip in $500 million to help with Detroit’s debts, which would no doubt involve selling some of those works. But the museum went on a fundraising spree and managed to raise $800 million—$300 million of which came from nine nonprofit foundations. $200 million came from the State of Michigan, though Governor Snyder has sworn up and down that he wouldn’t bail Detroit out. That’s a small gesture in the grand scheme of things, but the state and the city have a complicated relationship, in which the state likes to pretend that the city isn’t its responsibility. But now the DIA is being placed in the hands of a charitable trust, which will allow it to operate without worrying about municipal finances in the future. This is a huge relief to the museum and to the people who love it. Detroit may be making progress on its money problems, but it’s still bankrupt. Perhaps nonprofit solutions can address some of the cities other problems as...

Nonprofit Will Make the Most of Chicago’s Obama Library

Nonprofit Will Make the Most of Chicago’s Obama Library

Mar 22

The library named after President Obama will be built in the Jackson Park neighborhood of Chicago. It is expected to bring with it some changes to the surrounding neighborhoods. Real estate developers are already circling to buy up land to resell or build on. In response, a number of Chicago organizations have joined forces to form a new nonprofit focused on the economic development of Woodlawn, Washington Park, and other nearby neighborhoods. There is a decent amount of vacant land held by the city and private owners in those neighborhoods which could come up for grabs very soon. But rather than let this turn into a capitalist feeding frenzy, the new (still unnamed) nonprofit will bring together a board of about 20 people to help ensure that changes benefit the whole region. Among the coalition is the Obama Foundation, University of Chicago, the City of Chicago, South Shore Works, Washington Park Consortium, and the Network of Woodlawn. While each of those organizations is expected to have a member on the board, the rest will come from community members. The nonprofit was started by Reverends Torrey Barrett and Byron Brazier. There is a great deal of experience behind this new organization so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get things going. The group has already started forming before the library project even starts. Nonprofits dedicated to the economic growth or strength of local communities are all too often only conceptualized after those communities start to suffer problems. By getting the group started now, it’s board can help direct any new development so that it benefits and employs people in the communities that will come to host Obama’s library. Such forward thinking is in line with the former president’s beliefs on urban development. It is a good fit for library, and its likely made Obama...

Trump to Donate His Presidential Salary to Charity

Trump to Donate His Presidential Salary to Charity

Mar 16

Back in November of 2016, newly elected President Donald Trump said that he would not be taking the $400,000 a year presidential salary. His reason for doing so being that he’s already a wealthy man. How wealthy? According to Forbes, Donald Trump is worth a whopping $3.7 billion. Makes sense; $400,000 means nothing for a man of that worth. But it would certainly mean a lot to nonprofits and charities that are working towards the greater good. And that’s precisely why Trump plans to donate his salary to these organizations. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made the announcement this past Tuesday. During a press briefing, Spicer told reporters that the president would donate all of his federal earnings come the end of 2017. But that’s not all. Spicer also had a very unusual—and very unexpected—request of the press. “The president’s intention right now is to donate his salary at the end of the year, and he has kindly asked that you all help determine where that goes. The way that we can avoid scrutiny is to let the press corps determine where it should go,” Spicer said to a room full of chuckles. Yep, you read that right. Trump wants the press to help decide where that money goes. Remember that old adage about being careful what you wish for? Well, the press already has a couple of ideas in mind, one of which is for Mr. Trump to donate to The Committee to Protect Journalists—a world-wide campaign dedicated to advocating for freedom of the press. Other reporters have suggested that the president fund a journalism scholarship. The overall reaction surrounding the announcement has been quite humorous. But Spicer wants to remind the public that President Trump is indeed committed to his promise. “In all seriousness, I think his view is he made a pledge to the American people he wants to donate it to charity and he’d love your help to determine where it should...

U.N. Official Calls for Aid in Worst Humanitarian Crisis Since 1945

U.N. Official Calls for Aid in Worst Humanitarian Crisis Since 1945

Mar 15

According to United Nations humanitarian coordinator Stephen O’Brien, we are facing down the worst humanitarian crisis since 1945. He’s speaking of the more than 20 million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and northeastern Nigeria who are facing starvation. He has asked the U.N. security council for $4.4 billion by July of this year, noting that, “without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death.” The crisis is being driven by conflict in all four nations, including the ongoing fight against Boko Harem in Nigeria and the civil war that has raged in South Sudan since 2013 (where 42% of the population are food insecure). These are significant, man-made problems that are likely going to get worse during the lean season of June–August, pushing home the need for a quick reaction by the United Nations. While the United Nations takes such crises seriously and will help to the best of their ability, there is of course room for nonprofits and individuals to help as well. In a time when the United States government is talking about cutting foreign aid, generous Americans will hopefully step up to make a difference. These problems may not be in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean they don’t affect us. The kinds of problems that are faced by the people in these countries are the kind that tend to fuel further conflict, whether in a military sense or in the form of terrorism. People pushed to the edge can become desperate. But even if that doesn’t happen, it is not the fault of the average person in these countries that they are subject to famine. Why should they suffer while so many of us have more than what we need? This is an opportunity to help our neighbors. Let’s just hope that help arrives before more people die. Photo credit: EU/ECHO at Flickr Creative...

Racecar Driver Raises Money for Charity With Autographed Photos

Racecar Driver Raises Money for Charity With Autographed Photos

Mar 09

Internationally acclaimed racecar driver Nico Rosberg is putting his fame to good use. In an effort to raise money for charity, the Formula One world champion is selling limited edition signed photos of himself. The photo in question is the legendary shot of him taken at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix. Photographer Peter Fox took the picture during free practice at the Suzuka Circuit. At the time, he had no idea that the image would become so popular. But when Nico Rosberg posted the picture on social media, fans and leading figures recognized the image for what it was: an icon in the realm of motorsports. The photo received more than 5,600 likes on Twitter and was retweeted 2,100 times. Rosberg had this to say about the image: “It is seldom that you see the forces in an F1 car so clearly on a photograph. It was a special capture—very impressive. Even the tyre was deforming and everything. It was amazing—and it was a normal lap. It wasn’t like something specific happened—it was just like a normal lap.” Fox reported that he was overwhelmed by the amount of attention that the photo received. “When I woke up in the morning and started reading what everyone had been saying, it really showed the power of an image,” Fox stated. “I think Mark Gallagher wrote that this picture explains more than we could ever do with words, and that is what a photograph is all about.” They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But this picture also happens to be worth thousands of dollars. And that’s why Rosberg is teaming up with Fox to produce A2 prints of the photo—signed by the both of them. Proceeds from the autographed images will go towards Viva Con Agua and Water Aid—two charities that help deliver safe and sanitary drinking water to impoverished...

This Nonprofit Provides Homeless Women With Menstrual Products

This Nonprofit Provides Homeless Women With Menstrual Products

Mar 08

In honor of International Women’s Day, we want to showcase a very special nonprofit. It’s called Period: The Menstrual Movement. Now before we delve into any further details, take a second to put yourself in the shoes of a homeless woman. How would you cope with being on your period? What items might you use if you couldn’t afford menstrual products? A sock? Toilet paper? Cotton balls? That’s the situation that more than 50,000 homeless women in the United States find themselves in. Some of these women are so desperate for feminine care products that they end up using discarded paper bags. It’s sad. It’s unsanitary. And no woman should ever have to go through that. That’s why there’s Period: The Menstrual Movement. Period provides free menstrual products to low-income women. The organization is working to dismantle the taboo subject of menstruation by openly discussing the topic at high schools, colleges, and community centers. Part of the problem is that not a lot of people realize how expensive menstruation products are. A 36-pack of tampons costs $6.97 at Walmart. A 27-pack of pads costs the same. On top of that, these products are taxed. Mamamia estimates that the average woman would save $120 a year if these products weren’t taxed. But that’s a subject for another time. In the meantime, let’s talk more about what makes Period an outstanding organization. How about the fact that a 16-year-old girl founded it. Her name is Nadya Okamoto, and she’s a stunning example of what can happen when misfortune leads to innovation. You see, Okamoto and her family were homeless at one point. That’s ultimately what led her to start a charity for menstruation products. “It was a huge privilege check for me realizing that I never had to worry about dealing with my period. I never considered that it was such a major issue for women so much of the time,” Okamoto stated. It’s admirable how she used her personal struggle to help other women overcome similar adversity. It begs the question: what personal struggles have you gone through that you can help others...

Proposed Law Would Make it Harder for Nonprofits to Cover Medical Expenses

Proposed Law Would Make it Harder for Nonprofits to Cover Medical Expenses

Mar 03

There’s no question about it: medical care in the United States is expensive. It is a constant point of debate in politics, especially ever since Republicans promised to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But even under the ACA, there are still plenty of people who are struggling to pay for healthcare costs. That’s where nonprofits like the American Kidney Fund come in. The American Kidney Fund helps cover about 20% of the over 450,000 Americans currently on dialysis—an expensive and necessary treatment for people with renal failure. The organization covers some or all of the co-pays and other insurance costs of the people they help, but they get push back from insurance companies. A recent rule introduced by the Department of Health and Human Services, which was set to go into effect on January 13th, would require that “dialysis centers inform insurers if the centers are making premium payments either directly or indirectly through a third party for people covered by marketplace plans. Insurers would then have the option of accepting or denying the payments.” That rule was blocked by a federal judge. Insurers have complained that these nonprofit groups encourage patients to use private coverage when there are public plans that could assist them. Why that’s a concern isn’t exactly clear though; just like it’s not clear how allowing insurers to refuse payments from such organizations would in any way improve the system. The nonprofits, in the meantime, just want to help people. Considering the difficulty that many people have in paying medical costs, much less something as important or expensive as dialysis, it is surprising that the government would decide to make things even harder for them. Of course, with the current political climate and the the great efforts that are being taken to repeal the ACA, maybe the public shouldn’t be...