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Donation News Organizations

Anonymous Couple Donates Home to House Survivors of Trafficking

Samaritan Village is a nonprofit in Orlando, Florida which helps those rescued from human trafficking situations resume their lives. For years, they had a single safe house, a place where survivors could be given treatment for trauma and vocational training to start a new life. 

“It’s really difficult for us to find our graduates safe housing,” said Dionne Coleman, executive director of Samaritan Village. “A lot of them, because of addiction and the lifestyle that was led during their trafficking experience, have felonies so that can limit them from being able to rent in very healthy and safe neighborhoods,”

Their single safe house could only house nine women, and many needed their help for as long as 18 months at a time. With over 450 referrals to their program a year, the need was dramatically underserved, and so they began fundraising last year to buy a second safe house.

“Smack dab in the middle of COVID with everything shut down we received a call from Summit Church that there was an anonymous donor that wanted to give away a house,” Coleman said.

The donors, who are remaining anonymous both for their own sake and to keep the safe house’s location private, did speak to reporters. 

“We had a desire for a long time to give a house away at some point in our lives. We had been praying for about 10 years to have that opportunity,” the couple said to ABC Channel 9.

The money raised so far will still go to buy another house, enabling Samaritan Village to protect more survivors than they’d expected. They hope to make a purchase in 2021, and are considering expanding their services to further help graduates of their program reintegrate.

“Thank you doesn’t really cover it,” said the first woman to occupy the donated home, who goes only by Megan. “It’s such an obvious thing to say. I don’t think they understand the impacts they’re making in our life. It’s definitely more than a home. It’s a place I can continue my journey.”

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Donation News The Power of Giving

Walmart to Give $14.3 Million in Grants to Address Systemic Racism

In June, while the firestorm of protests sparked by the extra-judicial police killing of George Floyd was burning across the United States, Walmart was one of many companies who spoke out against the general weight of racism that still holds this country down. In an interview with CNBC at the time, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the company would look for ways they could use their resources to address racial inequality, including a promise that Walmart would invest $100 million in the cause of racial justice.

Walmart is the largest employer in the United States and by a large margin, with an estimated 1.5 million employees in the States (and 700,000 more worldwide). They’re also a major employer of black Americans, who make up more than one-fifth of their workforce. According to their own reporting, however, that percentage decreases significantly in higher positions – about 12 percent of management positions are filled by back employees, and fewer than 7 percent of company officers, the highest tier. According to Kirstie Sims, leader of Walmart’s Center for Racial Equality, the company is making tangible efforts within their own walls to improve those numbers.

McMillon had no details on that $100 million pledge in June, and they’ve been sparse in the months since, but on Monday, February 1, the Walmart Foundation announced that they would be disbursing $14.3 million to 16 nonprofits around the country, in the form of grants. Those grants are being given to groups who are addressing race and class inequality in a variety of ways, including health education for communities of color, debt relief for students at historically black colleges, and improving internet and technology access to children who are still attending school remotely.

“Progress sometimes is slow, but with the work and the power and the commitment behind it, we’re going to make change,” said Sims, who originally went to work herself at Walmart to pay off student debt, over twenty years ago.

Source: CNBC

Editorial credit: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

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Donation News

Elon Musk, Once a COVID Skeptic, Donates $5M to Doctors Fighting Pandemic

Early in the pandemic, Elon Musk was no friend to those trying to keep the disease under control. A skeptic with a massive platform and one of the world’s most-followed twitter accounts, he publicly (wrongly) predicted that COVID-19 would vanish in a few weeks and called California’s shelter-in-place order “fascist” when it shut down his car plant. He also argued with an actual virologist that he knew better than she did how disease spreads, posting already-debunked graphs to prove his point, and filed a lawsuit against Alameda County to try to force them to exempt his company from lockdown closures. His twitter is the first place many people heard about the (false) theory that hospitals were mis-attributing deaths to COVID-19 for… well, some nebulous reason.

Even after being diagnosed himself in early December, 2020, Musk didn’t seem any less skeptical of reasonable precautions.

In the first week of January, Elon Musk passed up Jeff Bezos to become the world’s wealthiest person with a net worth of $209.3 billion. He asked twitter for philanthropic ideas. He signed the Giving Pledge several years ago – a pledge designed by Bill Gates for the superwealthy to promise to give more than half of their net worth away in their lifetime – but has done relatively little on that front. Musk has donated more than $257 million to his own Musk Foundation, but they’ve distributed relatively little of it. Only $65 million since 2016, to approximately 200 nonprofits. With the recent increase in his fortune, that $257 million is only just over 1 percent of his fortune. Far from the half of the Giving Pledge.

On Monday, January 18, despite all of his earlier behavior, the Musk Foundation announced that he would be donating $5 million to two Boston doctors who have and continue to work on COVID-19 vaccines and diagnostic tools. Doctor Dan Barouch and Doctor Galit Alter are both associated with the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT, and Harvard in Boston.

Editorial credit: vasilis asvestas / Shutterstock.com

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Donation

Dolly Donates $1M to COVID Research While Getting Some Laughs

Back in April, while the world was wondering if the COVID-19 pandemic might die down in time for kids to get back to school before summer vacation, Dolly Parton wasn’t going to sit back and not help. The philanthropist made an excited post to her Instagram at the time about research towards a “cure” happening at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

“I am making a donation of $1 million to Vanderbilt towards that research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations,” she wrote, signing it “Keep the faith, Dolly.”

She wrote cure – what she meant was a vaccine. The research happening at Vanderbilt was the early stage trials of the Moderna vaccine. And when the news broke in mid-November that the Moderna vaccine was showing an effectiveness in excess of 95 percent, suddenly the entire internet wanted to praise Dolly for ‘curing’ COVID-19.

It’s a fun, tongue-in-cheek response to some long-awaited good news, and while much, much more money than Dolly’s million (and not even all of that) went int Moderna’s trials, the woman deserves some thanks all the same.

Dolly Parton, 74, has never balked at giving back. For decades, the Dollywood Foundation she backs has supported childhood literacy, and she has held benefit concerts in all 50 states for wildlife and HIV/AIDS charities, as well as various disaster reliefs.

“[Dolly] cares so much-” said Vanderbilt CEO and president Jeff Balser after her donation in April. “-about helping others, and we are very grateful for her ongoing support. These funds will help us complete promising research that can benefit millions in their battle with the virus.” Words that seem perhaps prescient – it wasn’t until the end of April that the U.S. reached its first one million confirmed infections. Now in November we are seeing more than a million new cases every 10 days. 

If only we had more people like Dolly Parton.

Source: BBC

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Donation The Power of Giving

Brontë Museum Receives £20,000 Lifeline Donation from T.S. Eliot Estate

Like many museums, the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, England, the small house dedicated to preserving the artifacts and stories of the famous literary Brontë sisters who once lived there, has been closed for half of 2020. Ordinarily host to over 77,000 guests a year, the sudden stoppage of ticket and gift shop sales has cut deep. In danger of shutting down permanently due to budget shortfalls, they reopened in the first weekend of September to much smaller crowds, while running a crowdfunding campaign to help stay that way.

Without any fanfare or announcement, a 20,000 pound donation appeared on their campaign site on Wednesday night, September 9th 2020.

“Realizing that it was from the T.S. Eliot estate was a very special moment,” said Rebecca Yorke in an interview with the New York Times. Yorke is the head of communications and marketing at the Brontë Society, which manages the museum.

T.S. Eliot, who wrote the poetry which makes up the lyrics of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats, passed away in 1965, but his estate still receives royalties from the musical and the 2019 movie recently made from it. He has a tenuous connection to the Brontë sisters; they both knew Sir James Roberts, a Yorkshire baronet and self-made millionaire. Eliot wrote obliquely about Roberts in his poem The Waste Land, as “a Bradford Millionaire.” And Roberts, who was a close friend of the Brontë family, purchased their home and donated it to the Brontë Society. Yes, the very same Haworth Parsonage.

Whether or not the Eliot Estate made this generous donation because of that faint thread of connection or not, the money, which amounts to over $26,000, will keep the museum going for some time, though their debts continue to mount in this difficult time.

If you wish to help the Brontë Parsonage Museum, please click here for information about donating or volunteering.

Source: Town and Country Magazine

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Donation

Bank of America Pledges $1 Billion to Address Racial Inequality

In 2013, Bank of America was fined $2.2 million after a judge found them guilty of racial discrimination in the hiring practices at their Charlotte, North Carolina offices. Over 1,100 African-American job seekers were denied due to what the judge called “unfair and inconsistent selection criteria” over the previous two decades. While a formal complaint about that discrimination was filed against BoA in 1997, more than 15 years of intentional stalling tactics delayed a resolution until after a number of information leaks revealed corrupt tactics in those same offices.

Hopefully, they’ve had a thorough house-cleaning. CEO Brian Moynihan, who was not implicated in the above corruption or discrimination even though he was in power at the time, announced in a press release on Tuesday, May 2nd, that Bank of America would be donating $1 billon over the next four years in channels meant to help address racial inequality.

Moynihan made a strong statement that the current unrest was in no small part due to “underlying economic and social disparities” having been made worse by the pandemic, which has has disproportionate impact on minorities in the United States.

“We all need to do more,” he said.

The $250 million a year will be channeled into health services and small business support in communities of color, and BoA locations in those communities will be required to seek new employees from their neighborhoods. It is a massive expansion of BoA’s previous donations to nonprofits, and will expand their low-interest loans to small, minority-owned businesses.

While it is a generous donation program, Bank of America could certainly afford to do more. They reported revenue of $27.4 billion in 2019, as well as repurchases of $34 billion in shares. Perhaps they could donate a little more of the $1.9 billion tax refund they received in 2010, a year in which they paid no federal taxes.

Source: CNN

Editorial credit: Tero Vesalainen / Shutterstock.com

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Donation News Organizations The Power of Giving

Magic Johnson’s EquiTrust to Donate $100M to Support Minority-Owned Businesses

When Earvin “Magic” Johnson retired from playing professional basketball in 2000, it was already obvious that he was not the sort of man who would just retire and ride out his substantial fortune for the rest of his days. He’d already tried his hand at coaching, and at hosting a television show, and starting a record label. And he was just getting started.

Today, Johnson runs Magic Johnson Enterprises, a diverse conglomerate company with a net worth over $700 million, which dabbles in dozens of different industries. Briefly, he owned 125 Starbucks locations. At another time, a chain of movie theaters in his name. For a while, he owned part of the L.A. Lakers and a Pepsi bottling plant in Washington. And he continues to own a controlling interest in EquiTrust Life Insurance Company.

Under his direction, EquiTrust is going to donate $100 million in capital to fund federal loans for business owners who have been struck down by the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritizing minorities and children.

The donation, which will be distributed as forgivable loans via lender MBE Capital Partners, will be governed by the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, the small business stimulus plan meant to help small businesses keep their staff on the payroll, giving them a greater chance of weathering the crisis.

“These are incredible businesses, small businesses, that have been the pillar of our community that also employ a lot of black and brown people in our community,” Johnson said on MSNBC on Sunday, May 17. “… We wanted to make sure that minority-owned businesses got small business loans through the PPP program.”

His statement alludes to the concern that minority-owned businesses have been left out, after the PPP stimulus has run out, been renewed, and run out of funds again, with large percentages of the package being snapped up by businesses which are not by any means ‘small.’

Source: CNN

Editorial credit: EPG_EuroPhotoGraphics / Shutterstock.com

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News

J.K. Rowling’s Latest Gift: $18.8M to MS Research

In 1990, J.K. Rowling‘s mother, Anne Rowling, passed away at the age of 45 after a decade-long struggle with multiple sclerosis (MS). In MS, the immune system attacks the myelin, the protective sheath on each neuron, causing them to break down and become unable to relay information. It has a wide array of symptoms, including neurological pain, paralysis, and loss of vision. In 1990, the medical community didn’t know this. To this day, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis.

In 2010, when J.K. Rowling was 45 years old, she donated £10 million ($12.5m) to the University of Edinburgh to found an MS clinic. The Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic opened there in January 2013, with a mission of furthering research and treatment by connecting clinical trials to patients.

Since the clinic’s founding, many advances in MS research have been made. In 2017, the FDA in the US approved ocrelizumab, the first drug to treat primary-progressive MS and shown to dramatically slow the progress of the disease. And while it’s not a cure, it’s still a huge breakthrough.

On Thursday, September 12, J.K. Rowling  made another donation to her mother’s memorial clinic and the University of Edinburgh. This time, she donated £15.3 million ($18.8m).

“When the Anne Rowling Clinic was first founded, none of us could have predicted the incredible progress that would be made in the field of Regenerative Neurology, with the Clinic leading the charge,” said Rowling. “I am delighted to now support the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic into a new phase of discovery and achievement, as it realizes its ambition to create a legacy of better outcomes for generations of people with MS and non-MS neurodegenerative diseases.”

“This inspiring donation will fund a whole new generation of researchers who are focused on discovering and delivering better treatments and therapies for patients,” said Professor Peter Mathieson, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh.

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Donation

Charity Rejects Donation from Robert Kraft

It takes a lot of guts to turn down a $100,000 donation, but that’s precisely what a Catholic charity did when billionaire Robert Kraft offered to make a hefty contribution.

The Haitian Project, a Rhode Island-based nonprofit that operates a school for impoverished children in Haiti, had been trying to secure a donation from Kraft for quite some time. However, it was only when Kraft became embroiled in a prostitution scandal that he decided to offer the charity $100,000.

“The last thing I wanted was a donation by Robert Kraft,” Patrick Moynihan, director of The Haitian Project, told the Boston Globe. “I could not be silent. I had to stand up.”

And so it was, Moynihan publicly rejected Kraft’s offer. And while it may seem like a huge sacrifice, the organization could end up gaining more than it lost.

“His rejection and indignation drew attention and great press to his school that quiet acceptance of Kraft’s donation could not,” the Nonprofit Quarterly reports. “Others may still step up and offer to fill the gap left by the rejected Kraft funds.”

In an interview with Boston sports station WEEI-FM, Moynihan said that he would have accepted the donation if Kraft had issued a sincere apology. And while Kraft has said that he’s “truly sorry,” Moynihan doesn’t buy it.

“What he apologized for was the embarrassment he caused to his family, friends, and team,” Moynihan maintained.

In the end, the charity’s decision not to accept “dirty money” was vital not just in terms of ethics, but also in maintaining the organization’s reputation. Nonprofits rely on the public’s trust. While accepting donations from unscrupulous sources may result in short-term gains, it will only jeopardize an organization’s future in the long run.

“We cannot do good by doing bad,” Moynihan argued. “The ends cannot justify the means.”

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Donation

Chicago Foundation for Women Awards $1.1 Million in Grants

Disenfranchised women and girls from the Chicago area will now have a better chance of obtaining economic security and reproductive justice, thanks to a $1.114 million donation from the Chicago Foundation for Women.

The donation was broken down into 43 grants, which were awarded to multiple different organizations and causes. According to Philanthropy News Digest, 29 grants totaling $810,000 were given to organizations that support economic security for women through professional development training, stabilization services, and advocacy. Grantees include the Chinese Mutual Aid Association, which mentors and assists impoverished women from immigrant families; Enlace Chicago, which works to expand opportunities and access to health care for the city’s Spanish-speaking population; and the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Chicago, which seeks to increase wages and improve working conditions for those employed in the local food services industry.

The foundation awarded an additional eight grants totaling $270,000 to groups that support reproductive justice. One such grantee was the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force, which aims is to reduce racial disparities in breast cancer survival rates for black women by increasing their access to health care.

The remaining $33,000 in grants was given to organizations that promote safety, health, and justice for black women and girls. Grantees include the Girls Like Me Project, which gives young black girls access to technology that can be used to record and share their experiences, and the Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program, which equips girls with life skills, including communication and career tools.

“Chicago Foundation for Women takes a comprehensive approach to women’s economic security,” said K. Sujata, president and CEO of the Chicago Foundation for Women. “We ensure women and girls have the skills necessary to thrive in today’s economy, as well as support in addressing barriers to employment such as housing insecurity, previous incarceration, and access to healthcare… But we know that women do not live and work in a vacuum, so CFW also invests in women-led organizing and advocacy to address the root causes of economic insecurity and to build movements that prioritize reproductive justice.”