Organizations Resources

One Percent for Culture

One Percent for Culture
IMG: via One Percent for Culture

The New York art scene is one of the liveliest and most thriving ones in the country.  However, many artists and performers never get the chance to be seen or heard from due to the cost of making a living there.  You’ve probably heard about all the starving artists.  Well, hello New York City! Don’t you care?

It turns out that some people do care – a lot, actually.  With more than “1,300 cultural organizations and thousands of artists spanning across all five boroughs, neighborhoods, and city council districts,” there is certainly a lot of creation going on.

Many people are now banding together in a non-partisan grassroots effort to get the city of commit to owning up to the demand for and value of culture.  This group, known as One Percent for Culture, is pushing the city to commit to giving one percent of the budget to the arts and cultural endeavors.  One percent is such a tiny amount considering what we get out of it.

There is the monetary aspect, under which 120,000 jobs and $8.1 billion are created by the non-profit culture.  Also, 24 million tourists visit cultural offerings in NYC each year.

Then there is the side of things which cannot be quantified in money.  It’s the part that feeds our psyches and souls.  Yet, public support for these organizations is less than one-fourth of one percent of the city’s budget.

The group argues that, “These organizations and individuals bring jobs to our families, customers to our merchants, revenue to our small businesses, and vitality to our city. They stimulate our minds and provide supplemental education to millions of New York City students.”

Some sponsors of One Percent for Culture are the Asian American Arts Alliance, the Broadway Association and the Center for Arts Education among others.

Getting involved in the spirit of giving is nothing new to many New York residents and organizations, including the Carl Mattone real estate group, yet another sponsor of the initiative.  Carl Mattone has donated to many other causes over the years including U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade fund, the Queens Library Foundation, and a number of Catholic charities throughout Brooklyn and Queens.

Only time will tell if the city gets on board with One Percent for Culture or ignores their efforts entirely.


Largest Medical School Donation Puts Carl Icahn in Top 10 Givers

Carl Icahn
IMG: via Jewish Journal

Number eight on the Philanthropy 50 for 2012 was Carl Icahn, a Wall Street Billionaire who claims that those who accumulate wealth have a responsibility to society to give back.  His major donation beneficiary this year goes to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, which is now renamed the Icahn School of Medicine.  The school also established the Icahn Genomics Institute for research on genetic testing, and created several scholarships in his name.  It is the largest donation to a medical school ever recorded.  To read more about Carl Icahn, head over to our profile.

To view Carl Icahn’s entire profile, click here.

Profiles Resources

Out of the Limelight: The Jobs’ Generous Giving

Steve and Laurene Powell Jobs
IMG: via Forbes

The world loved Steve Jobs. The innovative, intelligent college-dropout who founded Apple and Pixar was charismatic and easy to like. He inspired people with his products and vision, and devastated many with his death.

But not everyone had all nice things to say about the Apple CEO. He eventually reached a net worth of $10.2 billion before his death in October 2011, and many criticized the business magnate for not being generous with his fortune. He was worth so much money, yet he hadn’t mentioned any charitable giving to his biographer nor had he gone public about large donation like Bill Gates did. People felt that someone who had such a large fortune ought to be giving more of it away.

But what they didn’t know is that he was giving some of it away. He and his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, had quietly been giving to charitable causes for over two decades—they just didn’t feel a need to go public about it.

“We’re really careful about amplifying the great work of others in every way that we can, and we don’t like attaching our names to things,” Powell Jobs said in an interview with the New York Times. In other words, they are a private family that doesn’t feel the need to blast their famous name at every good deed.

It’s only recently that Laurene Powell Jobs has decided to step a little more into the limelight. She’s pushing for changes in education, conservation, nutrition, immigration, and even gun control. About a decade ago, Powell Jobs formed a group called Emerson Collective, which is an organization that awards grants and investments in education and other initiatives.

Emerson Collective is an LLC, rather than a certified non-profit, which means it can donate to for-profit, non-profit, and even political causes alike. And unlike a foundation, it doesn’t have to publicly report what it gives. That allows for an incredible amount of freedom and privacy, which is right up the Jobs family’s alley.

Powell-Jobs also helped form an initiative called College Track in 1997, which provides college prep for aspiring college students. Through College Track, she has served as a mentor to young people, helping them achieve their goals.

“It’s not about getting any public recognition for her giving, it’s to help touch and transform individual live,” said one of Powell Jobs’ close friends, philanthropist Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen.

Organizations Resources

Can Philanthropy Save the World?


bill gates
IMG: 3777190317 /

Last week, Bill Gates and Carlos Slim Helu joined forces to support the opening of the new International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. The two men are among the wealthiest people in the world, and though they came together on this occasion they have opposing viewpoints when it comes to philanthropy as a whole.

Bill Gates, who we have previously profiled, is famed for his generosity through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which donates about $4 billion each year. He also founded The Giving Pledge in an effort to recruit other wealthy individuals to give the majority of their wealth away to charity.

Slim, on the other hand, doesn’t believe that philanthropy has the power to solve problems permanently—only create dependence. “We have seen donations for 100 years,” he said in an interview with The Chronicle of Philanthropy. “We have seen thousands of people working in nonprofits, and the problems and poverty are bigger. They have not solved anything.”

That’s not to say Slim doesn’t give any of his wealth away—he’s just more careful about it. He chooses environmental, health, and educational programs while avoiding those that advocate for stronger democracy or civic participation. Like Gates, he has his own foundation, the Carlos Slim Foundation, and has funded other foundations as well.

Slim believes that the key to fighting poverty is in job creation and through social initiatives rather than charitable giving. He says the responsibility of the wealthy businessman is to keep building their wealth and thereby fight poverty through means that will promote independence rather than dependence.

Philanthropy comes in many forms. Gates and Slim may have different approaches, but certainly both men are charitable in their own ways. Can charitable giving as approached by Bill Gates save the world from poverty and hunger? Or ought we take a more critical view of giving and fall in line with Slim’s view?


Giving Growing Despite Economy

IMG: via Shutterstock

One might expect charitable giving to decline in a time of economic hardship, but according to the 2012 Giving USA Study of charitable giving, that’s not the case. Over the past few years, global charitable giving has been steadily increasing despite the fact that economies all over the world are struggling. In the past two years, the study says that charitable giving has increased by a whopping 15.2%.

Part of this is due to the fact that people can access charities much easier these days—we have the Internet to keep us up to date, aware, and constantly prompted to give back. Giving has also become a matter of pride to many, who have formed giving networks and made it their mission to communicate needs of communities all over the world.

Giving has increased not only in developed nations like the United States and the United Kingdom, but also in developing countries with fast-growing emerging economies like India, Brazil, Latin America, and China. For example, according to Bain & Co’s India Philanthropy Report 2012, India’s contribution rate among its wealthiest amounted to about 3 percent of their total income (from 2.3 percent the previous year)—and many expect they will continue to increase their giving in coming years. India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Perhaps part of the reason giving has increased globally is the fact that the youngest generations (millenials) were “born into an era of globalization and the distinction between local and global has increasingly blurred.” These youth don’t necessarily feel obligated to keep their investments and donation limited to causes in the United States or their home countries. Global awareness has skyrocketed in the past few years, and now we find ourselves painfully aware of the lack of basic necessities and the scale of poverty in developing nations. Now we can implement change on a global, rather than local, scale.

The rise of technology has effectively caused a rise in awareness and therefore humanitarianism. Although country lines, oceans, and political ideals may separate us, we all retain one identity that is the same: global citizen. As long as we stay connected and aware of the world, it’s likely that goodwill will continue to spread and grow.

Organizations Resources

Giving on the Rise in UK

IMG: via Shutterstock

Things are looking up for philanthropy—at least in the UK they are. A recent study by Coutts Institute, “The Million Pound Donors Report 2012,” found that the number of donations of over £1 million is at the highest level in five years. Over 232 donations for more than £1 million were made to philanthropic organizations in the UK during 2010-2011.

The philanthropies that are really benefiting from this rise are operational charities rather than charitable trusts, and the most popular causes are higher education, arts and culture, and international development. The total donation amount was £1.241 billion.

“It’s extremely encouraging for the development of UK philanthropy to note that this is the highest number of donors and donations since we began compiling this report in 2008,” said Maya Prabhu, the Executive Director of Philanthropy Services at Coutts. “Large scale philanthropy is on the increase and the more donors there are the more they communicate about the benefits their philanthropy brings to society and what it means to them personally, the more it will grow and strengthen a new generation of philanthropists.”

We sure hope so. We can accomplish much more in the world by working together rather than alone. Prabhu believes most of the donors to be genuine in their support for the causes they donate to, and dismisses the notion that they’re only donating for tax breaks.

“Today, the majority of the philanthropists we meet are self-made individuals, many of whom witnessed firsthand the highs and lows of building a business, and on occasion, the possibility of losing everything,” she says. “It’s a strong desire to make a contribution to the world that has afforded them so many opportunities, whilst also enriching their own lives, their families and the lives of others that we see as the main driver for their philanthropy.”