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This Week in Philanthropy – From The New York Times to J.K Rowling


BiddingForGood newsThe New York Times (NYT) made big headlines in the world of philanthropy this week announcing their decision to drop the philanthropy beat. The move was controversial as the NYT had been one of the last remaining newspapers with a full-time reporter covering philanthropy and nonprofits. In this week’s roundup, we’ll highlight this story along with a few others – including how J.K. Rowling’s generosity in charitable giving bumped her off the Forbes annual list of billionaires.

NYT Drops Philanthropy Beat

While the NYT has eliminated its philanthropy beat, a spokesperson said, “the newspaper would still cover philanthropy-related stories across news desks.” The level at which these stories will be told remains to be seen. The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Pablo Eisenberg expressed his disappointment in the decision, writing that the NYT was wrong to abandon philanthropy. With nonprofit workers representing 11 percent of the work force and 5.4 percent of the economy, he writes “it seems like nonprofits warrant additional journalistic attention, not less.”

Celebrity Athletes Gather for Philanthropic Boot Camp and Athletes for Hope organized a weekend “escape for GOOD” boot camp for major donors, family philanthropists and social change experts. The hosts of the event included Tony Hawk, Lance Armstrong, Mia Hamm, Andre Agassi, and Annika Sorenstam. The boot camp’s mission was to bring together individuals from different segments of the philanthropic world “to create a greater understanding of the platform that sport can play in supporting social change, and to empower guests to do more and reach out more intentionally to the next generation as partners in making a difference.” The weekend was filled with “passion chats” about philanthropy along with power workouts led by the celebrity athlete hosts.

Advice on charitable giving

We love the “Miss Manners” advice column in our local paper, The Boston Globe. This week, a reader writes in seeking advice on how to politely decline invitations to expensive fundraising events. The reader is an active volunteer and attends events when possible, but says it is impossible and expensive to attend every event. Here is a portion of her response – something we can all relate to!  

Smile all the way up to your eyes, laugh ruefully, and confide: “We just can’t do everything. You know how it is.” Then ask about something you know the questioner is involved in (“How is the silent auction coming?”) and listen sympathetically. Before you know it, you’ll have a reputation as a “people person” who nonetheless has the courage to set boundaries. You will be revered.

J.K Rowling is no longer a billionaire

The Harry Potter author and one of the world’s wealthiest women, J.K Rowling has given so much money to charity that she’s no longer on the Forbes annual list of billionaires. The New Zealand Herald reports that Rowling gave an estimated $160 million to charity which combined with Britain’s high tax rate, knocked her from billionaire to millionaire status. We think a millionaire who gives hundreds of millions to charity is much more impressive than being a billionaire anyway. Bravo!



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