Philanthropy New York Currents July 2010


Dear Members,

The development of relevant, timely, and quality programming lies at the heart of Philanthropy New York’s activities. Our emphasis remains on providing you with the ability to easily connect with other funders and with the key players involved in the issues and legislation affecting your areas of grantmaking. That said, understanding and incorporating your needs could not be more important to us.

To that end, one of our newest website features, “Your Idea HERE”, encourages and enables you to submit your own event ideas, publicize existing initiatives, and reach out to your fellow members for collaboration opportunities. Through “Your Idea HERE”, you can also share your feedback more easily and let us know which membership resources you would like to see more (or less). Event ideas that have already been submitted by members include briefings on better understanding field-related terminology, making more financially effective use of tech assistance, and the pros and cons of becoming a low-profit limited liability company (L3C).

I invite you to explore and take advantage of this new web feature and, as always, to let us know your thoughts on its usefulness to your work.

Best Regards,

Ronna Brown
President, Philanthropy New York

Paul Allen Is the Latest to Make The Giving Pledge

On July 15th, while commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Mr. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates, publicly pledged that the majority of his estate would be donated to philanthropic causes after his lifetime. Mr. Allen, whose estate is valued at $13.5 billion, follows in the footsteps of Mr. Gates and Warren Buffett, who have both encouraged their fellow American billionaires to make The Giving Pledge to give away at least half their wealth to charity.

Learn more about The Giving Pledge.

New York Life Insurance Company's Second Annual Global Month of Service

New York Life Insurance Company held its second annual Global Month of Service in May 2010 and had over 4,500 employees and agents volunteer in their local communities where the company does business. The 2010 Global Month of Service built on 2009's inaugural effort, when over 3,500 New York Life employees and agents volunteered in over 200 community projects.
New York Life has designated May as its Global Month of Service to expand its long-standing tradition of giving back, providing New York Life employees, agents, family members, friends, and policyholders with an opportunity to make a global impact in local communities.
This year, volunteers worked on 300 community projects in seven countries to champion the Supporting Youth Worldwide theme and gave over 30,000 hours of service—the equivalent of 18 people working full-time for an entire year, with an estimated value of more than $650,000.
Learn more about the the Global Month of Service.

United Way's LIVE UNITED Brooklyn Bridge Walk and Volunteer Festival

On Saturday, October 2, 2010, the United Way of New York City's LIVE UNITED Bridge Walk and Volunteer Festival will attract leaders and teams from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to help raise awareness of the need to "bridge" the gaps in education, income, and health that exist in New York City. More than 5,000 participants are expected to gather in City Hall Park to walk in teams across the Brooklyn Bridge to Cadman Plaza Park for a Volunteer Festival featuring music, food, entertainment, and more than 75 nonprofit organizations from all five boroughs offering a wide range of volunteer opportunities.
Funds raised through the LIVE UNITED Bridge Walk will help support United Way initiatives that not only provide immediate help to people in need, but also lead to policy changes that have far-reaching impact on the education, income, and health of all New Yorkers. These include innovative initiatives that are working to reduce the dropout rate, equip working families with financial management skills, and bring fresh, locally grown produce to soup kitchens, food pantries, and under-served communities.

Learn more about the Bridge Walk and the Volunteer Festival.

A Closer Look at Philanthropy New York: The Philanthropy In/Sight Survey

Philanthropy New York members have free access to the Foundation Center's interactive mapping tool, Philanthropy In/Sight, which enables grantmakers, policymakers, and researchers to visualize the spending patterns of private foundations and public charities through a familiar Google Map interface.
Users can create maps combining the Center's data on over 97,000 grantmakers and close to 1.8 million grants with dozens of demographic and socio-economic indicators. The maps pinpoint the locations of grantmakers and recipients, depicting where foundation dollars are having the greatest effect or where funding is needed most, and provide detailed information about funders, recipients, and grants.
The Foundation Center is requesting feedback from grantmakers so they can ensure that this resource grows and evolves in line with the needs of the funding community. We encourage our members to take a few moments to complete a survey about their experiences using Philanthropy In/Sight.
Click here to take the survey.


  • Jason McGill, Philanthropy New York's Vice President of Member Services, is one of fifteen philanthropic leaders who have been selected for the inaugural Council on Foundations' Career Pathways program. The intensive one-year initiative is designed to recruit and foster diverse talent and excellence in the sector's most senior levels.
  • The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF) has received the largest grant ($10 million over one year) from the federal government's Social Innovation Fund. On July 22nd, the Corporation for National and Community Service, which operates the Fund, awarded 11 grants to EMCF and other intermediary organizations, which will then fund nonprofit groups working in the areas of economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development/school support. EMCF will provide financial, strategic planning, and evaluation support to 8-10 youth development and school support nonprofits working in both urban and rural communities throughout the nation.


(View a full text, PDF version of Philanthropy New York Currents, July 2010.)


  • Member Transitions, July 2010
    New appointments and promotions at the ASPCA, The Atlantic Philanthropies, The Commonwealth Fund, the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation.

Members in the News & Resources

  • Soros Group Boosts Arts
    Source: The Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2010
    This article examines the Open Society Institute's plan to award $11 million in unrestricted gifts to small and midsize performing-arts nonprofits throughout the five boroughs.
  • Clark Foundation Awards $2 Million to Nonprofit Finance Fund to Support Struggling New York City Nonprofits
    Source: Philanthropy News Digest (PND), July 15, 2010
    The $2 million program-related investment will establish a working capital loan fund for grantees of the foundation that are struggling financially. (The foundation's Executive Director, Doug Bauer, is also quoted in the article.)
  • Targeting Costs of Health Care
    Source: The Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2010
    The New York State Health Foundation was featured as WSJ's “Donor of the Day.”
  • Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors Receives $3.7 Million to Support Effective Philanthropy
    Source: Philanthropy News Digest (PND), July 8, 2010
    The three-year grant (from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) is for launching a program designed to arm emerging donors with the knowledge to become effective philanthropists.
  • NY plan to cut wealth tax break worries charities
    Source: Reuters, July 7, 2010
    New York State lawmakers have proposed cutting the tax break on charitable giving for people earning more than $10 million a year from 50 percent to 25 percent; Melissa Berman, President and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and Gillian Howell, Head of Private Philanthropy for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, are among those commenting on the plan.