Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bras on Broadway

I'm super late in posting this story, but I just found these pictures on my digital camera.... When I was in Fargo in October, this is what greeted me at my old downtown haunt: The Hotel Donaldson:


It's an annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and includes an auction of unique designer bras... this year the event raised almost $30,000. As part of the breast cancer awareness month the HoDo strings all these donated bras from the roof!

Since I LOVE the HoDo, all I have to say is KUDOS for a job well done!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Endowments, art collections, donor intent, oh my!

In our continuing coverage of how the financial crisis is effecting nonprofits, here's the story of Brandeis University and it's Rose Museum. The University trustees have voted to close the museum and sell pieces of the collection - some very valuable pieces, I might add. In this NPR interview, Brandeis President says he will not violate any donor intent but sees educating students as more important than keeping the museum open. The University says it will not turn away any current students who cannot pay their bills at this time. With an endowment that's lost significant value, I think that the University is staying true to its core mission and doing the right thing. On the other hand, it's not really a good time to be selling art either, so is it really prudent to sell when prices are low? Are University trustees upholding their duty of care? What do others think?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

iGoogle at it again!

So, I didn't exactly pay attention to when Google started offering iGoogle - I just know I'm slightly obsessed. Well, those fun Google folks are at it again, and this time they have a philanthropy-related tie-in: Cause Themes!

For those of you not in 'the know', iGoogle offers thematic backgrounds for your iGoogle page for just a touch more personalization. So, when I hopped online this evening I found that I can choose a theme based upon some select causes! (By the way, how does one become a 'chosen cause'?!? I seriously hope they don't have to shell out any money for that, but I'm guessing I'm wrong.) Not only did I select the World Wildlife Fund for my new theme, but I also saw a handy little link pop up at the top of my screen directing my how to donate to WWF! One word: GENIUS.

Sorry, Oscar de la Renta and Kate Spade! You're out, and cute pandas are in!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bill Gates' letter

I no more than hit "Publish Post" before Bill Gates' letter was in my in-box. You can read it here.

Bill Gates' letter expected today

The country (ok, maybe just us philanthropy junkies) is expecting the first annual letter from Bill Gates, a "candid look at the issues at the forefront of the foundation's work." You can listen to his interivew with NPR in which he discusses many things familiar to us: issues of donor crowding out, measuing impact, and Carnegie's call for people to distribute their wealth during their lifetime.

I haven't seen the letter posted yet, but I'm interested to know what others think once you've read it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK Day of Service

I can't pull my eyes away from CNN's coverage "MLK to Today." It's a national holiday with philanthropy at it's core and I've teared up at just about every segment CNN has done so far today. I hope everyone saw the broadcast of MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech at noon. I don't think I had ever actually heard the speech in its entirity: it was just as inspiring today as I imagine it was 46 years ago.

If hopefulness is the star by which we naviage the murky waters of philanthropy, then our country is moving in the right direction.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Envelope Real Estate

So, I've been carrying this envelope around with me for a week because I wanted to show you the precious real estate Ticketmaster is giving to the American Red Cross. I think it would have been more effective if the envelop solicited donations for the Shedd Aquarium which is where I purchased said Ticketmaster tickets for their Planet Earth 4D show. In any case, I doubt that this envelop inspired many donations.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Stephen & Melinda Gates Foundation

You read that right, I finally have a way to talk about philanthropy AND The Colbert Report!

In classic Colbert satire, he makes fun of the Madoff Ponzi scheme by reporting his own charity's endowment, The Stephen & Melinda Gates Foundation, was invested by Merdoff. According to Colbert, "Before this scandal broke, my nonprofit was making huge profits .... The worst part: we were just weeks away from finding a cause."

Watch the entire episode (which is full of laughs) or just the first 5 minutes for the Madoff story.

You can learn the whole thruthiness about the Foundation here.