Co-founder of Private Equity Firm Donating $1 Million to Northern Arizona University

Co-founder of Private Equity Firm Donating $1 Million to Northern Arizona University

Jul 14

Great news for education students at Northern Arizona University! George Roberts, co-founder of private equity firm KKR, is giving $1 million to NAU to support education students during their student-teaching semester. The money will be divided into $5,000 scholarships. The scholarships will be offered to first-generation college students from underrepresented demographic groups that have a demonstrated need for financial aid. The donation is part of Roberts’ greater mission to empower marginalized people. “Those who complete college do better—they make more money and have more stable lives,” Roberts said in an interview with the Arizona Daily Sun. “It’s a way to break the cycle of poverty that keeps so many from reaching their true potential. If we’re ever going to improve the economic inequality in this country it’s going to be through education and jobs.” Roberts is making the donation in honor of William A. Franke, a close friend of his whom he’s known for nearly 50 years. Franke is the cofounder and managing partner of Indigo Partners, a Phoenix-based private equity and venture capital firm. When Roberts brought up the idea of making a donation in his name, Franke recommended NAU. Franke himself has been an avid supporter of NAU for many years, which is why NAU’s W.A. Franke College of Business is named after him. Those who receive the $5,000 scholarships will be known as Franke Scholars. “We are incredibly grateful for George Roberts’ generosity,” said President of NAU Rita Hartung Cheng. “There is a significant need for high-quality teachers, and through this gift, George Roberts and Bill Franke will ensure that NAU students will become those exceptional teachers.” At a time when tuition costs are rising and colleges are facing budget cuts, donations like this are invaluable. It’s especially important due to the fact that it creates more opportunities for minorities, who already face significant socioeconomic...

Rebel Wilson Wins Defamation Lawsuit, Will Donate Payout to Charity

Rebel Wilson Wins Defamation Lawsuit, Will Donate Payout to Charity

Jun 22

Last week, Australian actress Rebel Wilson won her defamation lawsuit against Bauer Media. Wilson, who is best known for her role in the Pitch Perfect movies, is set to receive a $5.93 million payout as a result of libel damages. It all started back in 2015 when Bauer Media published several articles that painted Rebel Wilson as a liar. Wilson said that she lost several employment opportunities as a result of those articles. But as far as money goes, she claims she’s just glad to have her reputation back. “It’s over in my mind,” Wilson said after winning her case. “The reason why I’m here is not for damages, it’s to clear my name, obviously. It’s just really not about the number … what I was hoping was that the jury would do the right thing and send a message.” But Wilson did more than just clear her name; she actually created an entirely new name for herself as a philanthropist. Yesterday, the actress announced via Twitter that she would be giving all of the money she received from her lawsuit to charity. “Re my defamation case win, any dollars I receive will go to charity, scholarships or invested into the Aussie film industry to provide jobs,” Wilson wrote. “I take being a role model very seriously.” It was an admirable decision, considering that no one would blame Wilson for rightfully pocketing the earnings from her case. But electing to donate the payout instead shows that she’s able to turn a negative situation into a positive one. More importantly, it shows that she’s socially conscious and generous. Here at Philanthropic People, we love writing stories about celebrities who use their fame and money to promote good in the world. Rebel Wilson, if you’re reading this, know that we love you and are very proud of all the work that you’ve accomplished! *Photo courtesy of Eva Rinaldi at Flickr Creative...

Charitable Giving in the U.S. Topped $390 Billion Last Year

Charitable Giving in the U.S. Topped $390 Billion Last Year

Jun 14

Here’s some good news: last year was one of the most charitable years in U.S. history. According to Giving USA’s Annual Report on Philanthropy, Americans gave $390.05 billion to charities in 2016—about a 3 percent increase from 2015. But what’s particularly impressive is that Americans were still generous despite a rocky election cycle. Aggie Sweeney, the chair of Giving USA, fully expected donations to drop off in 2016 due to all the political upheaval. But that’s not what happened. “Americans remained generous in 2016, despite it being a year punctuated by economic and political uncertainty,” Sweeney stated. “We saw growth in every major sector, indicating the resilience of philanthropy and diverse motivations of donors.” The report also shows that donations made by individuals are on the rise. Last year, individual contributions topped $282 billion—up 3.9 percent from 2015. Patrick M. Rooney, associate dean of academic affairs and research at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy (which compiles the report), says that the increase in individual giving reflects the “democratization of philanthropy.” “In 2016, we saw something of a democratization of philanthropy,” Rooney stated. “The strong growth in individual giving may be less attributable to the largest of the large gifts, which were not as robust as we have seen in some prior years, suggesting that more of that growth in 2016 may have come from giving by donors among the general population compared to recent years.” But it’s not just individual contributions that are on the rise; donations from foundations also rose—to the tune of a 3.5 percent increase from 2015. Donations from corporations also increased by 3.5 percent. In fact, the only demographic that saw a decrease was giving via bequests, which fell by 9 percent. As for which causes people are donating to the most, religion remains number one with education coming in at a close...

Boston University Students Climb Mount Kilimanjaro for Charity

Boston University Students Climb Mount Kilimanjaro for Charity

May 24

Typically, a charity fundraising event consists of a gala, an auction, a marathon, or maybe even a raffle. But a group of students from Boston University found a different way to raise money for charity. The students (11 women and one man) decided to scale Mount Kilimanjaro in the name of philanthropy. The group raised over $66,000 for their trip, half of which went towards travel expenditures; the other half went towards the Andrew McDonough B+ (Be Positive) Foundation, a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to families of children with cancer. “One of our main missions is to raise awareness. The climb and the students from Boston University help us to further spread our mission,” said Carly Bergstein, program director of the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation. “Here we have 12 students who before knew nothing about B+ and are now taking on this incredible trek. They’re going to the top of Kilimanjaro with B+ posters and banners and T-shirts. It’s incredible for us that students care so much and become so dedicated to the mission of fighting childhood cancer—while doing something really exciting for themselves.” The trip was organized by Alexa Nutter, who is currently enrolled in Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. For her, the issue of cancer hits close to home. “My grandma has cancer,” Nutter stated. “I’ve worked with kids who had cancer and coached special needs hockey at my high school. It was something I’ve done for a really long time.” With the exception of two students who had to drop out due to altitude sickness, the group completed the 19,341-foot trek. It took them a total of eight days (six up and two down). While Nutter and her fellow comrades admit that the hike was a challenge, they maintain that their efforts were worth it in the...

Franklin & Marshall College Establishes Revolutionary New Educational Program, Thanks to Generous Gift By Alumnus

Franklin & Marshall College Establishes Revolutionary New Educational Program, Thanks to Generous Gift By Alumnus

May 05

Franklin & Marshall College has introduced a radical new program that is designed to help students develop the characteristics that are most often associated with success. The program, called the Mehlman Talent Initiative, is funded by Ken Mehlman, who earned his B.A. from Franklin & Marshall College in 1988. Throughout his many years as a successful businessman, Mehlman has found that grit is the number one attribute that all successful people have in common. And he’s not alone in this theory. An article published in The Muse lists “resilience” as the number one quality that all successful people have in common. Even Business Insider credits “persistence” as a collective trait that the world’s most successful people share. But how does one teach the qualities of resilience and persistence (commonly referred to as “grit”)? That’s what Mehlman is trying to figure out. The entire focus of the Mehlman Talent Initiative involves studying the ways in which high-achieving, disadvantaged students have overcome some of life’s most difficult challenges. These challenges range from poverty to disability to illness and even discrimination. “At a time of increased global competition, accelerating technological evolution, and rapidly shifting business, political, and social environments, resilience and the ability to rebound and reinvent are critical,” Mehlman stated. “Young men and women who have already overcome adversity bring different life experiences and are well positioned for 21st century success, but they need practical tools to flourish. This initiative will support these students and provide a framework for the rest of us to learn from them.” Daniel R. Porterfield, president of Franklin & Marshall College, couldn’t be more excited about the program. He praised Mr. Mehlman’s dedication to the project, and even likened it to an empowerment program. “As a Trustee, Ken Mehlman has been deeply involved in our collective decision-making to pursue an expanded financial aid strategy for talented students that has reshaped the College dramatically in the past decade, making an F&M education available to many more first-generation, lower- and middle-income students from all across the country,” Porterfield stated. “With this tremendous gift—half of which is dedicated to financial aid—he further enables the College to cultivate the greatness of high-achieving students so that they will be empowered to achieve big goals in their lives and make disproportionately positive contributions to society. The Mehlman Talent Initiative will continue to make F&M a stronger school and help us create an...

Top 10 Charity Wine Auctions in the U.S.

Top 10 Charity Wine Auctions in the U.S.

May 03

Last week, Wine Spectator magazine released their annual report on the top 10 charity wine auctions in the U.S. Using data gathered from previous years, the publication has determined that overall revenue was down in 2016. In total, $33 million was raised from live auction bids in 2016, compared to $36.9 million in 2015. Nevertheless, charity wine auctions are still a very effective means of fundraising. Here, we’ve listed the top 10 based on how much money was raised from live bids. 1. Naples Winter Wine Festival Located in Naples, Florida, the Naples Winter Wine Festival raised a whomping $10,485,000 for charity. This will be the 11th time that the Naples Winter Wine Festival has made it into the top 10. 2. Auction Napa Valley Based out of St. Helena, California, Auction Napa Valley closed in at $9,800,000. All proceeds went towards local health and children’s charities. 3. Destin Charity Wine Auction This Florida-based charity wine auction raised an impressive $2,359,225. The money was used to support local children’s organizations. 4. Auction of Washington Wines Washington State came in at number four with a total of $1,900,500 raised during the Auction of Washington Wines. 5. Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction Trailing just behind Auction of Washington Wines, Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction raised $1,862,500. 6. Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest managed to raise $1,549,584 during their annual event. 7. Rusty Staub Foundation Wine Auction Dinner New York made the list of the top 10 with The Rusty Staub Foundation Wine Auction Dinner. During this event, organizers raised $1,524,350. 8. Classic Wines Auction The Classic Wines Auction, based out of Portland, Oregon, came in at $1,514,565. 9. V Foundation Wine Celebration Based out of Oakville, California, this charity wine auction raked in $1,377,850. 10. Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Auction & Dinner And at number 10 we have the Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Auction & Dinner. This Texas charity wine auction raised $1,304,500 for the Houston Livestock Show and...