Posted in Philanthropy, tagged Global Philanthropy Forum, Google.og, GPF, Jeff Skoll, Larry Brilliant, New Philanthropy, Philanthropy, Skoll Foundation, Urgent Threats Fund on April 15, 2009|
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Jeff Skoll, the first President of Ebay, has given $100 million dollars to start a new foundation called the Skoll Urgent Threats Fund. According to a NY Times article yesterday, the organization will address urgent crises such as water shortages, pandemics and the Middle East conflict. The Urgent Threats Fund will be led by former Google philanthropy guru Larry Brilliant (see our blog post here), and is intended to leverage the work done by the rest of the Skoll Foundation in supporting and celebrating social entrepreneurs.
“What I’ve been aiming at all these years is to try and address these big social issues in the world,” Mr. Skoll said, “but in the last five years or so, certain issues have emerged very clearly that, if we don’t get ahead of them soon, all of the other things we’re trying to do, whether improving the lives of women or preservation of species or girls’ education, won’t really matter.”
Mr. Skoll is making a name for himself in pioneering new means of using philanthropy for social good, and we hope his innovation inspires further creativity.
Watch Jeff Skoll speak at last year’s GPF here, and listen to Larry Brilliant’s GPF remarks here.
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Posted in Philanthropy, tagged Chris Cooper-Hohn, Hedge Funds, Jamie Cooper-Hohn, New Philanthropy, Philanthrocapitalism, Philanthropy, President Clinton, results-driven, The Clinton Foundation on January 12, 2009|
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An article today on Bloomberg.com explores one of the biggest forces in today’s global philanthropy: hedge fund leaders. The authors emphasize the weight these hedge fund philanthropists place on results: “If a hedge fund manager is going to give money, we want them to give based on the effectiveness of the charity,” says Martin Brookes, chief executive officer of NPC and a former international economist at Goldman. “There is much more focus on what the money achieves.”
The article details some pretty inspiring results from the work of leaders in the field, including Chris Cooper-Hohn of The Children’s Investment Fund LLP or TCI, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, or CIFF, run by his Harvard-educated wife, Jamie Cooper-Hohn. One example highlighted is that of a 3.7 million pound grant in 2005 from CIFF to the Clinton Foundation which enabled the Clinton Foundation – together with a coalition of government and nonprofit agencies – to reduce the price of a year’s dosage of antiretroviral drugs to $180 from $1,500.
These hedge fund leaders vow that they will continue their philanthropy in these difficult times, even though their investments may suffer. Let’s hope they mean it.
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On Thursday, Wall Street financier Bernard L. Madoff was arrested on charges of fraud totaling losses of $50 billion. A former head of the Nasdaq stock market, Madoff was a prominent leader in the New York Jewish community and served as Chairmen of the School of Business at Yeshiva University. His fund, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, supported several large Jewish organizations, advised wealthy members in the Jewish community, and managed funds for two major European banks. One Jewish charity, The Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation, has already closed down and let go of its staff, having lost all of the money needed to fund its programs with the collapse of Madoff’s fund. And just this morning, The JEHT Foundation, a charity that supports reform of the criminal and juvenile justice systems, announced that it will close its doors next month because its donors, Jeanne and Kenneth Levy-Church, were investors in Madoff’s firm. There are fears that other prominent charities funded by Madoff will soon collapse as well – see the list of those involved here.
Madoff confessed to running a Ponzi-scheme, where early investors were paid with money collected from later investors. The NY Times says Madoff’s scheme likely succeeded for as long as it did because “Madoff sent detailed brokerage statements to investors whose money he managed, sometimes reporting hundreds of individual stock trades per month. Investors who asked for their money back could have it returned within days. And while typical Ponzi schemes promise very high returns, Mr. Madoff’s promised returns were relatively realistic — about 10 percent a year — though they were unrealistically steady.”
While it is still unclear what lasting effects this scandal may have on Jewish philanthropy in the long term, it could open the door for ‘new philanthropists’ to pick up the financial slack left by more traditional foundations that had their assets managed by Madoff that are now struggling, if not collapsing. We may see a shift away from large, traditional foundation investments in the Jewish community, to smaller, more strategic gifts with much more active donor involvement.
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