Donation News

Rihanna Donates $5 Million to COVID-19 Response Efforts in At-Risk Communities.

The Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) was founded in 2012 by singing star Rihanna and named for her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. The Foundation is dedicated to healthcare, educational reform, and emergency response. According to the Foundation’s Wikipedia page, “One of the core pillars of the Clara Lionel Foundation’s work is to transform the way the world responds to natural disasters.”

COVID-19 isn’t a hurricane, a flood, or a famine, but it is certainly a natural disaster, and in response, Rihanna and CLF have donated $5 million to front-line disaster response efforts in at-risk communities.

The $5 million will be portioned out to Direct Relief, Feeding America, the International Rescue Committee, Partners in Health, and the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, all groups helping to make sure that underserved communities maintain access to healthcare, food, and elder care during this difficult time.

“Never has it been more important or urgent to protect and prepare marginalized and underserved communities – those who will be hit hardest by this pandemic,” said Justine Lucas, the executive director of CLF.

Along with the large divided donation, Rihanna will be helping local food banks in at-risk communities in the U.S., Haiti, and Malawi, ensuring they can feed the elderly who should not under any circumstances be leaving their homes in this time. She will also be looking into ways to support accelerated testing efforts and provide protective equipment to health workers who are struggling to get it. She has already donated $700,000 worth of medical ventilators to her home country of Barbados.

This is a consistent area of focus for the superstar and her foundation; after Hurricane Dorian, CLF focused their efforts on mobile medical coverage and hospital rebuilding efforts in the hard-hit Bahamas. And since their inception, CLF has been working in conjunction with Engineers Without Borders to make hospitals more disaster-proof around the Caribbean.

Source: Harper’s Bazaar

Donation News

Action Movie Icon Donnie Yen Donates to Wuhan Medical Workers

Donnie Yen Ji-dan, or just Donnie Yen to most of the world, is a gem of the Hong Kong movie industry. He does everything; actor, director, producer, stuntman, choreographer. And for years now, philanthropist as well.

The star of international blockbuster Ip Man, a biographical film about the man who taught Bruce Lee martial arts, Yen is without doubt the highest paid actor in Asia. In 2013, for instance, he made HK$220 million (over US$28 million) for four projects and six ads.

On Wednesday, February 19th, Yen posted a half-minute video to Weibo, a Chinese social media site. In the video, he spoke Mandarin. Here is a partial translation, according to the South China Morning Post:

“Hello everyone, I am Yen Ji-dan. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the medical frontline workers [in China]. In this critical moment, everyone please protect yourself well by wearing a mask and washing your hands more often. Distance yourself from the virus but don’t distance love. I believe our country will win the battle against the virus and have the situation under control. Wuhan add oil, China add oil.”

The last line is a colloquial exhortation to work harder, to apply more effort. To that end, he accompanied his post with a donation of HK$1 million (US$128,353) to the medical workers in Wuhan. It’s unclear if it is a direct donation or if it is given to the hospitals and/or government in the area, but it’s going to be a valuable help to those fighting COVID-19, either way.

Yen has a history of philanthropy. In 2012 and 2015, he founded two charitable funds. The first was “Go.Asia,” a platform to help people donate to local communities. The second was Yen’s Honour Protection Fund, a legal fund for people to protect themselves from defamation.

Source: South China Morning Post

Editorial credit: Tinseltown /

Donation News

Donald Trump Donates 2019 Fourth Quarter Salary to Fight COVID-19

Very early in his 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump pledged that he would not be accepting any of his Presidential salary in his first term, and to date he has largely kept that promise. He donates each quarterly paycheck to a different cause. So far, those causes have included the National Park Service, the Department of Education, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the Small Business Administration, the office of the Surgeon General, and several more, mostly earmarked for specific programs like a STEM camp for children and caregiver programs for disabled veterans.

In the growing panic of COVID-19, the President and his office have made the decision to donate his 2019 fourth quarter salary to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health to support research and containment of the disease.

The $100,000 donation (as yet unconfirmed) won’t go far, but it is a note-worthy gesture, coming only days after the President spoke on TV calling concern about the virus a hoax targeted to undercut his re-election. Since that speech, American deaths from the virus have gone from zero to seven, and world-wide deaths have crossed 3000.

Donating the Presidential salary has become a small tradition for presidents who came from wealth. President Trump follows in the footsteps of John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover. Kennedy, coming from a billionaire family with a $10 million trust fund of his own, donated the wages of his office to many charities, mostly to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the United Negro College Fund, and the Cuban Families Committee. Hoover, a multimillionaire in his own right, gave away his salary to many causes, most of them anonymously.

The President was scheduled to visit the CDC and the National Institutes of Health on Tuesday, March 3rd according to the White House, but details of those visits, if they occurred, have not been made public.

Source: CNN, NYPost

Editorial credit: Evan El-Amin /

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Bloomberg Donates $2 Million to Fight Voter Suppression

Having freshly stepped off of the stage of Democrat candidates, Michael Bloomberg has moved immediately into doing his best to boost voter turnout.

“Voter suppression efforts across the country have been a barely disguised effort to keep Black Americans and other Democratic-leaning voters from the polls,” said Bloomberg in a statement on Monday, March 9th. “I’ve always believed we need to make it easier for all citizens to register and vote, not harder.”

Putting his money where his mouth is, Bloomberg took action with a $2 million donation to Collective Future, a nonprofit which partners with grassroots groups to focus on registering black voters in places where many haven’t been registered before.

Collective Future, which is the nonprofit arm of The Collective PAC, has a mission to “fix the challenge of African American underrepresentation in elected seats of power throughout our nation.”

“There is a critical need for Black voter engagement across the country in the 2020 election and beyond and we are deeply grateful to Mike Bloomberg for his partnership and dedication to this critical cause,” said Quentin James, president of The Collective PAC in a statement responding to the donation.

Historically, black voters have faced a number of obstacles in casting their ballots. From the now-illegal literacy tests and poll taxes to voter roll purges alleged to fight voting fraud but disproportionately impacting black communities, those obstacles aren’t over. Bloomberg’s donation will help put feet on the ground towards getting black voters registered and engaged.

Bloomberg, currently #9 on Forbes magazine’s list of the richest people in the world, is worth approximately $56 billion, and has spent billions over the decades to back his political affiliations, which change from time to time. In 2018, he spent hundreds of millions propping up Democratic candidates in the congressional races. He’s pledged to do so again in 2022.

Source: CBS News

Editorial credit: Ron Adar /


Rockefeller Foundation to Invest $65M in Low-Wage Workers

On February 25, the Rockefeller Foundation announced a new campaign aimed at lifting marginalized communities out of poverty. To achieve this objective, the Foundation is investing $65 million into programs that will help 10 million U.S. workers and their families meet their basic needs.

“Far too many people work hard and play by the rules, but the American Dream feels more out of reach than ever before—and for many marginalized communities, it was hardly accessible to begin with,” said Rockefeller Foundation President Rajiv Shah. “Over our 106-year history, The Rockefeller Foundation has stepped up during our country’s most critical moments. To meet the moment today and going forward, we have to fight on every front to expand opportunity for America’s working families.”

According to the Foundation, more than 44 million working households in the U.S. struggle to pay their bills each month. As part of its investment strategy, the Foundation is launching the U.S. Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative, which will focus on expanding and modernizing economic policies like the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), two of the most effective tools for lifting families out of poverty.

The Initiative will also focus on encouraging public-private partnerships to invest in “Opportunity Zones” as part of a new tax policy designed to spur economic growth in distressed communities. Efforts are currently underway in the following areas: Atlanta, GA, Boston, MA, Dallas, TX, Louisville, KY, Miami, FL, Newark, NJ, New Orleans, LA, Norfolk, VA, Pittsburgh, PA, Oakland, CA., Seattle, WA, St. Louis, MO, and Washington D.C.

“There is no investment in America that gets a better ROI than investment in an equitable future for America’s workers,” said Otis Rolley, managing director and acting senior vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation’s U.S. Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative. “Our team hit the ground running and are already supporting proven economic policies and promoting grassroots partnerships to spur greater investment in low-wage workers and low-income communities all across the country.”


Technology Trends That Will Shift the Way Nonprofits Operate in 2020


In this article, philanthropy expert and technology guru Madeline Duva outlines the three tech trends that will revolutionize the nonprofit sector in 2020.


1. Nonprofits Will Team Up to Address Common Concerns

“Organizations like the JPB Foundation in New York City are leading by example, employing a hub model that recognizes complex social issues cannot be solved by single players alone, but rather require a host of like-minded organizations working in concert toward a single goal,” says Duva, CEO of Fluxx, a cloud-based grant management platform that caters to small, midsize, and large nonprofits. “To achieve this, the JPB Foundation employs a collaborative model in which it funds a ‘hub organization’ or ‘anchor’ and then funds a network of surrounding organizations that work together to pool resources, deploy knowledge, and create a more effective and supportive ecosystem.”


2. More Organizations Will Begin Using AI-Based Technology

“The applications of AI in philanthropy are wide-ranging, but perhaps one of the most promising examples can be found in the work accomplished by journalistic nonprofits, which are adopting innovative AI-based technologies to discover insights into social media and the way we consume information,” Duva explained. “Notably, according to a report published by Fast Company, nonprofit news organization ProPublica developed ‘a new approach to investigative reporting that uses technology like machine learning and chatbots’ to look into algorithms that affect our lives.”


3. Blockchain Will Become Essential in Philanthropy

“Whether it’s donors receiving gifts in crypto, tracking malaria drugs with a blockchain marker, or adopting a cryptocurrency system for refugees in unbanked nations, this technology represents a tangible opportunity to overcome real barriers to progress and innovation,” Duva stated. “As use cases proliferate and word of mouth around blockchain’s effectiveness continues to spread, so, too, will we see more philanthropic organizations investigate how they can best integrate this technology into their global and national missions.”


CEO of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Resigns

Photo: Sue Desmond-Hellmann gives a speech at the 2012 Most Powerful Women Summit. Source: Krista Kennell / Shutterstock

Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is stepping down after serving more than five years in the leadership role. According to a press release published on the foundation’s website, Desmond-Hellmann made the decision after concluding that she could not adequately fulfill the demands of the job while taking care of her own health and the needs of her family.

“This was without doubt the toughest decision of my career,” Desmond-Hellmann said. “But I felt I could no longer be the CEO the foundation needs and deserves at this vital time.”

Both Bill and Melinda Gates released statements praising Desmond-Hellmann for her contributions.

“Sue brought an incredible set of attributes to the foundation: scientific expertise, tested leadership skills, a passion for building a strong internal culture, and, above all, a dedication to the mission of making the world a healthier, more equal place,” Melinda Gates said. “Whether we were sitting in a conference room in Seattle or spending time with farmers in southern Africa, I was always grateful for her perspective and her partnership. Our foundation is better for the fact that Sue walked through its doors five years ago, and I wish Sue and her family all the best.”

“Sue’s commitment to innovation and continuous improvement at the foundation will be just a part of her enduring legacy,” Bill Gates said. “Her extraordinary leadership over the past five and a half years has seen both the launch of the Gates Medical Research Institute and the expansion of our work to examine poverty and economic mobility in the United States, among many other achievements. I want to personally thank Sue for her dedication, and to wish her the very best as she steps away to focus on health and family.”

Mark Suzman, the foundation’s president of Global Policy & Advocacy and chief strategy officer, has been appointed the new CEO.

“It is an incredible honor and privilege to lead the Gates Foundation,” Suzman said. “I’m deeply grateful to Bill and Melinda for their faith in me and to Sue for her dedicated leadership and strong mentorship over the past five years. As we look ahead, I’m humbled and excited by the opportunity to advance our important mission to help ensure everyone in the U.S. and around the world has the chance to lead a healthy and productive life.”


New Initiative Will Tackle Disparities in Rural Communities

Four organizations— the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Save the Children, StriveTogether, and Partners for Education at Berea College—have launched a new initiative aimed at bettering the lives of children in rural America.

Called the Rural Accelerator Initiative, the program is designed to provide educational resources to children in pastoral communities that might not otherwise have access to these opportunities. Through a combination of strategic investments, local partnerships, leadership development, and peer learning, the Rural Accelerator Initiative will ensure that these children receive a quality education and graduate from high school either ready for a career or prepared for college.

“We know we can achieve more by working together than apart and have proof from nearly 70 communities across the country that the collective impact of organizations working across sectors can influence outcomes for every child,” said Jennifer Blatz, president and CEO of StriveTogether. “We are excited to bring our proven approach to this initiative and are proud to be part of a landmark effort to accelerate results for youth and families in rural America.”

Over the course of three years, the program will invest a total of $1.2 million in the following focus areas: Perry County, Ky.; Whitley County, Ky.; and Cocke County, Tenn.

“We have the opportunity to harness the expertise of national leaders in education as well as the local communities where we work, to drive progress toward positive outcomes for children in rural America,” said Betsy Zorio, vice president of U.S. programs and advocacy for Save the Children. “We are grateful to our partners for their support, skills, and knowledge and look forward to working together to empower communities to create a successful cradle-to-career pathway for every child in rural America. It’s our ambition to take these learnings and scale to support the nearly two and half million children growing up in poverty in rural communities.”


Report: Fewer Americans Are Donating to Charity

A new report released by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Vanguard Charitable shows that the number of Americans who donate to charity has dramatically decreased in recent years.

The report, titled “Changes to the Giving Landscape,” reveals that 53% of Americans gave to charity in 2016, down from 66% in 2000. Put another way, approximately 20 million fewer households are donating to charity than they did 20 years ago.

“This shift is due to lower-income and lower-wealth Americans experiencing the slowest economic recovery since the Great Recession, during years when the cost of other items such as food, education, and healthcare have increased,” said Vanguard Charitable President Jane Greenfield. “This has led to a decrease in the share of income available to give to charity.”

The authors of the report noted that millennials in particular are less likely to give to charity than older generations, which is likely due to having “the misfortune of entering the workforce during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.”

Data shows that baby boomers and those belonging to Generation X, for example, gave more to charity over time as their income increased. However, the same did not hold true for millennials.

“There’s a general trajectory that as you get older your income grows and your giving grows,” said Una Osili, co-author of the report and associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly School. “With millennials we haven’t seen that same pattern.”

But that’s not the only reason Americans are giving less. The other big factor is religion.

Surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center show 26% of Americans now identify as atheists, agnostics, or “nothing in particular,” compared to 17% in 2009. Why does that matter? Because researchers at Baylor University found that religious people are more likely to give to charity.

“Religious organizations have traditionally gotten the lion’s share of Americans’ charitable dollars,” MarketWatch notes.

Click here to read the full report.


Mirza Dinnayi Receives Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity

The 2019 Aurora Prize has been awarded to Yazidi activist Mirza Dinnayi, director and co-founder of Luftbrücke Irak (Air Bridge Iraq). The fourth annual accolade recognizes individuals who have shown outstanding dedication to humanitarian causes.

The prize came with a $1,000,000 grant, which Dinnayi has elected to donate. The funds will be distributed to three organizations that have inspired Dinnayi’s work: Air Bridge Iraq, the SEED Foundation, and the Shai Fund—all of which are dedicated to providing medical care and rehabilitation services to victims of ISIS.

“What makes Mirza Dinnayi an outstanding human being is the fact he couldn’t live in good conscience knowing that good people are left behind, that the innocent are suffering,” said 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate Tom Catena, who is also the chair of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. “Trying to help others while facing an unspeakable evil can be challenging and frustrating, but he never wavered. I am delighted to congratulate Mirza Dinnayi with being awarded with the prize and welcome him to the Aurora family.”

Dinnayi is estimated to have saved hundreds of women and children during the Iraq war, an achievement that has not gone unnoticed by others in the humanitarian community.

“The very name of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity contains the most important message of this unique award,” said Nobel Prize Laureate Leymah Gbowee, who is also a member of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee. “Right now, the world feels the need for humanity to rise and for people to step up. Mirza Dinnayi, whose courage and selflessness are a credit to his people, is doing just that: taking care of women and children, who suffer the most in a conflict situation, and putting himself at risk to save others. What an outstanding humanitarian.”

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative also gave grants of $50,000 each to two other notable humanitarians: Yemeni activist and attorney Huda Al-Sarari and Zannah Bukar Mustapha, founder and director of Future Prowess Islamic Foundation (a school in Nigeria).

*Photo courtesy of Landesregierung Baden-Württemberg via Flickr CC.