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Philanthropy

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An initiative offering Nevada voters open party primaries and ranked-choice voting appears headed for the November ballot, while the state Supreme Court turned down a case that could have put a constitutional amendment about a school vouchers program before the voters. In a third ruling, the state high court said a Las Vegas-area teachers union can withdraw two tax-raising initiatives from the 2022 ballot. The three decisions came Tuesday, just ahead of a deadline for groups to submit the nearly 141,000 signatures to qualify initiatives for this year’s statewide ballot. The voting changes a constitutional amendment would need statewide approval this year and again in 2024.

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The Supreme Court's ruling allowing states to regulate abortion has set off a travel scramble in some parts of the U.S.,  as abortion providers redirect patients to states that still allow the procedure. A growing number of states are moving to mostly banning abortion. Clinics operators are moving, doctors are counseling crying patients, donations are pouring into nonprofits and one group is dispatching vans to administer abortion pills. Some cities _ like Kansas City and St. Louis _ also are drafting plans to help with the travel logistics. Groups are trying to help with everything from gas cards for travel to connecting patients with small aircraft pilots willing to transport them to a clinic in another state.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration won't use public money to help people from other states travel to California for an abortion. California's operating budget includes $20 million to help pay for things like airfare, lodging, gas money and meals for people seeking abortions. But the money can only be used for in-state travel. The decision surprised some abortion advocates. Access Reproductive Justice Executive Director Jessica Pinckney said she would ask lawmakers to allow the fund to cover out-of-state expenses. The budget includes more than $200 million to help expand access to abortion. That includes $40 million to cover abortions for women who can't afford them.

The American Folk Art Museum, unlike many other arts institutions during the pandemic, was able to avoid layoffs and other cutbacks in the past two years through a mix of unique fundraisers and increased contributions from existing donors. The museum plans Tuesday to announce its largest and most unusual recent gift – a $5 million donation from arts supporters Becky and Bob Alexander to help fund the museum’s exhibition program and its operation as one of New York City’s few free museums. In honor of the Alexanders’ donation, they will receive naming rights to the museum CEO’s job title.

A Florida high school will retire its “Chiefs" mascot following an emotional school board meeting over the Native American symbol. An online petition with more than 6,000 signatures sought to keep the mascot. Many graduates of Chamberlain High School told the school board on Tuesday that they believe the mascot conveyed honor and respect. But student leaders and the district's Native American Parent Advisory Council recommended the change after a survey found 58% of students consider the “Chiefs” tradition offensive. The school plans to raise the $50,000 needed to change the school's branding and uniforms, and students will select a new mascot this fall.

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Charitable giving in the United States reached a record $485 billion in 2021, though the increase did not keep pace with inflation. That's according to a report Tuesday that offers a comprehensive look at American philanthropy. The Giving USA report says donations in 2021 were 4% higher than the record-setting $466 billion contributed in 2020. But that it was down 0.7% when adjusted for inflation. Many nonprofits are now feeling the strain because giving is not growing as fast as price increases. Reacting to the intense needs of the early COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the calls for racial justice, giving increased in unusual ways in 2020, but has generally returned to previous patterns.

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Nobel Peace laureate Dmitry Muratov says he was not expecting the medal he was auctioning off to help Ukrainian child refugees sell for the record amount of $103.5 million. Bidding in the auction ended in New York on Monday, which is World Refugee Day. The sale shatters the old $4.76 million record for a Nobel. The identity of the buyer isn't immediately known. Muratov was awarded the medal in October 2021. He helped found the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and was the publication’s editor-in-chief when it shut down in March amid a Kremlin clampdown after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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An anonymous bidder has shelled out a record $19 million for a private lunch with billionaire Warren Buffet at a steakhouse in New York City. The meal with the Berkshire Hathaway CEO was offered on an eBay auction to benefit the San-Francisco based charity GLIDE. The winner can bring up to seven guests. This year’s event will be the first private lunch offered with the 91-year-old billionaire since the previous record-setting bid of $4.5 million in 2019. The past two auctions were called off due to the pandemic. Buffett, who says this will be the last charity lunch, has raised $53 million for GLIDE since the auction began in 2000.

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North Korea has reported a new “epidemic” of an intestinal disease. Thursday's announcement was unusual for the secretive country, which is already contending with a COVID-19 outbreak and severe economic turmoil. It’s unclear how many people are infected in what the official Korean Central News Agency said was “an acute enteric epidemic” in southwestern Haeju city. The agency didn’t name the disease, but enteric refers to intestinal illnesses, such as typhoid, dysentery and cholera. Such diseases routinely occur in North Korea, where there is a shortage of water treatment facilities and the public health system has been largely broken for decades.

The advocacy group Global Citizen and the finance firm NPX are engineering a new campaign that targets Forbes 400 billionaires, Giving Pledge members, and the wealthy generally — a group increasingly criticized for what is seen as tight purse strings. Initially, the effort aims to raise at least $150 million through six $25 million funds. It also is a test of whether a “pay for results” model can get millions of dollars that are earmarked for social good but sitting on the sidelines — including more than $1.3 trillion in foundation assets, $160 billion in donor-advised funds, and an estimated $700 billion managed by impact-investment firms.

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Bidding on the final private lunch investor Warren Buffett plans to auction off to raise money for a California homeless charity has already topped $3 million. The online auction that raises money to support the Glide Foundation's work to help the homeless in San Francisco began Sunday and continues through Friday night. Buffett has said that this year's auction — which is the first one since before the pandemic — will be the final one. The lunch is already proving pricey but the bidding remains well below the record set in 2019 of $4,567,888. The biggest bids usually come near the end of the eBay auction.

A Japanese foundation has announced it is launching a fundraising drive to provide more than 1,200 Ukrainian evacuees in Japan with additional financial support for language studies and other needs. Jumpei Sasakawa, executive director of the Nippon Foundation, says it aims to raise $7.4 million through cooperation with the U.S. and Ukrainian ambassadors. The foundation has already pledged $37 million for the transportation and living costs of Ukrainian evacuees. Japan has so far accepted more than 1,200 war-displaced Ukrainians since Russia invaded in late February. Sasakawa says he was approached by U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel, who asked him to enable ordinary Japanese to help support Ukrainian evacuees.

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has rolled out guidelines for a new youth service program meant to create job opportunities for Native Americans while boosting their cultural connections to nature through conservation projects on tribal and public land. The Indian Youth Service Corps is the latest addition to the Biden administration’s plans for building a 21st century version of the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps. Projects will range from clearing brush to reduce wildfire threats to preserving historic sites. Haaland said Friday that it's time for Indigenous youth to have a seat at the table. Nearly $10 million in federal and private funding is being invested in the effort.

When a leaked draft decision signaled the likely withdrawal of the legal right to an abortion in the U.S., donors clicked on donations buttons and mailed checks in a spasm of fury. The “rage giving” has given abortion funds a temporary financial boost. The funds, which help people pay for abortions, say the spike in gifts won't be enough if more people have to travel out of state for care. Kelly Nelson founded an abortion fund in Tampa and said her organization needs sustained, multiyear philanthropic funding. She argues the fight in the courts is over and abortion rights supporters need to help people pay for and travel to get abortions.

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Gun control and gun violence intervention advocates hope the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, will convince federal and state governments to take action again. Nonprofits like March for Our Lives plan to mobilize supporters on June 11 to push elected officials to require universal background checks. That’s just one philanthropic effort in a movement that recognizes politicians have not delivered meaningful action on gun control in America. Other nonprofit, community or advocacy organizations have also gained insight into why gun violence occurs and how to reduce it, including interventions don’t rely on getting legislation passed.

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The United States and its allies are vowing to hold Russia accountable for crimes committed by its forces since they invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. U.S. Undersecretary of State Uzra Zeya spoke at a U.N. Security Council meeting Thursday on strengthening accountability and justice for serious violations of international law. She says that in nearly 100 days, the world has seen Russian forces bomb maternity hospitals, train stations, apartment buildings and homes and even kill civilians cycling down the street. Ireland’s Attorney General Paul Gallagher says the International Criminal Court has deployed a team of 42 investigators, forensic experts and support staff to investigate Russian crimes and support Ukrainian efforts.

For years California, Florida, Oregon, Washington, and other states have relied on incarcerated men and women to fight wildfires. They are trained to perform grueling work while earning just a few dollars, sometimes as little as $2 a day. Incarcerated workers who serve as volunteer firefighters help contain and combat blazes as wildfires have become more frequent and intense while the U.S. Forest Service has struggled with staffing shortages due in part to low pay.  Now a nonprofit group – with help from foundations and others – is helping incarcerated people who have been trained as firefighters secure careers in the profession once they leave prison.

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