Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street Journal’

Six months after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake ravaged Haiti, much attention has shifted to other needs and other crises elsewhere. But the Caribbean nation is still very much in crisis, and, as the Wall Street Journal reports, there’s still too much rubble and too little progress. With a new hurricane season now bearing down on the region, the situation may very well get worse before it gets any better.

In addition to helping to provide for continued relief and humanitarian assistance, philanthropy will be an essential player in long-term rebuilding. And the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy has conducted research and analysis to identify some of the most fruitful long-term philanthropic opportunities. Haiti: How Can I Help? Models for Donors Seeking Long-Term Impact outlines ways in which donors can help Haitians develop the capacity they need to build a brighter future for themselves, their communities and their nation.

The guide focuses in three interrelated “pillars of socioeconomic development” – health, livelihoods and education – and notes that promising nonprofit models already exist in these three areas.

In health, the guide emphasizes supporting community-based primary care systems because the chief causes of sickness and death in Haiti – from infectious diseases to injuries to complications during childbirth – continue to be mostly preventable and treatable.

With regard to livelihoods, the focus is on enabling households to provide for themselves by building assets and promoting environmentally sustainable ways to make a living. Finally, in education, the focus is on addressing the needs of children. More than one million Haitian children currently have no access to schools, in part because schools are physically or financially out of reach. The community schools model, focused on rural residents, helps overcome these barriers, and it also helps address the high teacher turnover by recruiting teachers from the local villages.

Working in these three key areas of development may not only provide long-term help, but short-term signs of progress as well. Haitians, and the global community at large, are in dire need of some good news.

–Jane Wales

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In 2007, four men with distinguished careers in American diplomacy and national security wrote two op-eds in the Wall Street Journal promoting a world free of nuclear weapons and explaining the path to get there. The four, former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry and former Senator Sam Nunn, discuss their views in more detail in the documentary film The Nuclear Tipping Point. The men continue to speak about nuclear non-proliferation.

Last week, Senator Nunn appeared on the Colbert Report and discussed the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the threat of nuclear terrorism and the necessity of global cooperation “to take the steps we need to protect American citizens.” Watch the interview here:

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “Sam Nunn“, posted with vodpod

Next week, on Monday, June 21 Secretary Shultz will be at the Council to host a members-only screening of the documentary film.

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Zachary Karabell, noted author and economic trend analyst, will be joining the Council on October 21 to discuss the economic relationship between China and the United States and the speed at which it is changing. This week Karabell wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Deficits and the Chinese Challenge,” which uses the post-war British experience to warn of the challenges faced by a superpower in debt.

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A Wall Street Journal article today ties back to our Friday post highlighting MicroPlaces’ new Global Poverty Note.  The WSJ piece focuses on some of the big online giving sites, such as Kiva.org, and notes that  “Credit markets world-wide are tight, and charitable donations are down.  But Web sites that specialize in “microlending” — small loans mainly to the working poor — say they’re thriving as they address both issues.”

Our CEO & President, Jane Wales, had an op-ed in the SF Chronicle back in November on this same idea.

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Bill Gates, Co-Chair and Trustee of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, released a 20 page letter today pledging that though his foundation’s endowment fell by 20% in 2008, they will increase their spending to $3.8 billion in 2009 – up $0.5 billion from last year – holding true to the speech he gave in Washington last month.  (See our December 4th post) In the letter, Gates assesses the successes and challenges of their recent work, and discusses the role for foundations in the current economic climate. Read the full letter here, or an article on its significance in today’s Wall Street Journal.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a valued partner of our Global Philanthropy Forum, and we applaud their commitment to the foundation’s mission in the midst of these troubled times.

Update:  In a column this week, NY Times journalist Nic Kirstof posted a video of his interview with Bill Gates about aid to developing countries in the current economic climate.  Kristof comes away saying, “… if Mr. Gates manages to accomplish as much in the world of vaccines, health and food production as he thinks he can, then the consequences will be staggering. Squared.”

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A Wall Street Journal article today from the end of last month highlights a threat to foundations nationwide. Members of Congress are saying that foundations have an obligation to use the money they save with tax exemptions  – money that otherwise would have gone to the federal government – where it will have the greatest impact on public good.  Meaning – where Congress thinks it will have the greatest good.  If they do not feel that foundations are doing this, they are threatening to get rid of charitable tax exemptions.

To counter this threat, a new organization called the Philanthropic Collaborative commissioned a research project to convince policymakers of the benefits of philanthropic dollars.  The study finds that foundations have a much more positive economic impact on society than we had thought, that “for the $43 billion that foundations spent on grants in 2007, they created direct economic benefits of $368 billion.”

Perhaps policymakers will find that the benefits of foundation work ‘as is’ will significantly outweigh any gains that could be gleaned by denying them their charitable deduction.

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