The Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual list of the 50 most generous donors from 2012 is younger than ever. The list, released this week, shows there are more donors -- individuals or couples -- under 40 among its ranks. Of the five biggest donors on the list, three are under 40. It's the first time that has happened. And taken together, these under-40 donors account for more than 15 percent of the total amount the Philanthropy's 50 donors contributed in 2012.
Some bad news? The median amount given away by the Philantropy's 50 donors for 2012 was $49.6 million, compared to a median of $61 million in 2011, and a pre-recession high of $74.7 million. (The chronicle first began tracking this data in 2000.)
Which donors on the list are people keeping an eye on? Along with youth, a lot of the donors are coming from Silicon Valley and high-tech. Marketplace compiled a list of five of the younger, more surprising philanthropists:
1. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan (No. 2 overall)
The Facebook co-founder and his wife, a pediatrician, gave 18 million shares of their Facebook stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to fund education programs and health awareness. This isn’t the first time the social network guru and his wife have supported education. In 2010, they gave $100 million to support public schools in New Jersey.
2. John and Laura Arnold (No. 3 overall)
The hedge fund founder and his wife (a former lawyer and businesswoman) established the Laura and John Arnold Foundation in 2008 to help nonprofits working to improve pension systems and public education. So far the couple has put over $900 million into this fund. The couple has also supported charter schools in New Orleans and obesity research. In 2012, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation founded the Giving Library, an online tool to educate philanthropists on different charities.
3. Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki (No. 5 overall)
The Google co-founder and his wife spent 2012 donating money to the Micheal J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. They also supported the Brian Wojcicki Foundation, which donated to Ashoka, the Human Rights Foundation and the Tipping Point Community, an organization geared toward eliminating poverty in Northern California.
4. Joshua Rechnitz (No. 20 overall)
Amount donated in 2012: $57 million. The heir to the Heilbrunn fortune (he's the grandson of Robert H. Heilbrunn, who invested in undervalued companies beginning during the Depression) spent 2012 donating his time and money to a nonprofit he created to fund an indoor sports complex. He also put close to $7 million into the Powerhouse Environmental Arts Foundation, a nonprofit he created to turn an old fire station into a studio for artists.
5. Jon Stryker (No. 39 overall)
The heir to the Stryker Corporation (a firm that develops and produces medical supplies) fortune donated over $30 million in 2012. All of the money went towards to the Arcus Foundation, a nonprofit he founded in 2000 to fight discrimination against the LGBT community. Last year the foundation awarded 116 grants of more than $17 million.
With the Carnival cruise ship Triumph and its 3,143 passengers now being towed to Mobile, Ala., more reports are emerging from passengers on the ship that lost engine power early Sunday. They describe a tent city on the upper deck and continuing problems with the sewage system.
Cape Town's archbishop emeritus compared the government's targeted killing program to apartheid, saying the program "threatens to undermine your moral standards and your humanity."
Sen. Marco Rubio had a tough moment Tuesday night when dry mouth intruded on his response to the State of the Union. But in all honesty, the unplanned nature of any little mistake has a certain appeal.
Dianne Feinstein said the reviews happen after the strikes take place. All those actions, however, take place in closed sessions, far away from the public.
In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama talked about the economic importance of education and infrastructure. That's all well and good. But how do we fund these investments when discretionary spending is likely to be cut to the bone in order to reduce the budget deficit?
The answer: We need to treat public investments differently from discretionary spending.
No rational family would borrow to pay for a vacation but not borrow to send a kid to college. And no rational business would borrow to pay current salaries but not take out a loan to buy crucial new machinery.
Yet that's, in effect, what our government does because it doesn't distinguish between current spending and public investment needed to ensure future economic growth.
A rational federal budget would allow additional borrowing for public investments whenever the expected return on those investments is higher than the cost of the borrowing. And it wouldn't borrow a penny if the return on the investment is less than the borrowing costs.
Granted, such public returns can be hard to measure. But well-developed tools exist for doing so.
Studies show for every dollar we invest in infrastructure, for example, we can expect a return of nearly $2 in economic gains. Of course we need to make sure these investments are smart. No bridges to nowhere. Still, no one can argue that much of our infrastructure is badly outdated.
Investing in early childhood education gives us an even bigger bang -- a return on investment of between 10 and 16 percent. A better-education workforce means greater productivity. Putting more money into basic R&D yields a similar big return.
Capital markets are now global. Money sloshes across borders in search of the highest return anywhere.
The only way to ensure private investors will continue to invest in America, and support the high living standards we want, is for Americans to be highly productive. This requires public investments.
Which is why we need a public investment budget -- separate from a current spending budget -- that can't fall victim to partisan bickering and will allow us to keep borrowing when the return on public investment -- and the public good -- justifies it.
Technical gremlins got hold of some NPR reports Wednesday morning. So the newscast was all "live." Hopefully listeners didn't notice. And now, things seem to be back to normal. Take a listen.
NPR "did not present a complete or balanced view" of its program, the MSC writes in a statement.
Chicago’s recent spike in gun violence has economic effects -- and causes -- that can feed on each other in a vicious cycle. Playing a central role in that cycle is, of all things, housing policy. Chicago’s policies have a long, racially charged history that has lead to segregation and high concentrations of poverty in pockets across the city. One side effect is that now, certain neighborhoods face much higher rates of violence than others.
To break that cycle, the city has launched a series of radical housing experiments that move people from poor to middle-class neighborhoods. But do they work?
Shinnette Johnson hopes so. She leads workshops for the Chicago Housing Authority’s “Mobility Counseling Program,” through a nonprofit called Housing Choice Partners.
She recently welcomed a handful of people to one of those workshops, in a conference room in downtown Chicago. After offering coffee and donuts, she projected a giant map of the city on the front wall.
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“We're going to talk about all the polka dots on the map,” Johnson told the attendees, as she explained the basic idea behind the workshop. And the idea is basically this: the polka dot you live in can directly affect your future success in life -- income, health, the quality of your education. And -- this is the important part -- you can profoundly change those things, just by moving to a different polka dot.
Of course, housing bureaucrats don’t talk about “polka dots.” They talk about "Traditional Areas" and "Opportunity Areas." In Chicago, the definitions have changed over the last few years, but currently Opportunity Areas are neighborhoods with a poverty rate under 20 percent, low saturations of public housing, and “improving community economic characteristics.” In other cities, the definition can involve a wider set of criteria, including employment rates and school rankings.
The bottom line, Johnson tells her audience at the Mobility Counseling Workshop, is that these are areas that theoretically have “better schools, healthier environments, low crime, jobs close to home and racial integration.”
Shinnette Johnson leads a Mobility Counseling Workshop in Chicago.
To qualify for Johnson’s workshops, you must be low-income, you must receive rental assistance from federal Section 8 housing vouchers, and you must have an interest in moving to a new neighborhood.
That’s why Krystal Stribbling is there, sitting in the front row.
Stribbling explains that she has a 12-year-old son who she wants to be able to “go outside without nobody trying to induct him in to a gang. He's very smart in school,” she says. “And I want him to be the next president.”
The problem is that even though Stribbling knows she wants to move out of her current neighborhood, she isn't sure where to go. And that's where mobility counselors like Johnson come in. “A lot of people are stuck within the four corners of their own neighborhoods,” Johnson says. “That's all they know.”
A Mobility Counseling Program questionnaire asks what participants are looking for in their new neighborhoods.
If you don't have a car, Johnson says, and all your family and friends have lived in the same place for generations, then even if you have the will to move, it can be hard to find the way.
“For example, Garfield Ridge. Who knows where Garfield Ridge is?” she asks her workshop attendees.
Johnson points to Garfield Ridge on the map -- it's near Midway airport -- and starts singing its praises: low crime, high ranking schools. Now her audience is leaning in. “In that area alone there's 19,000 jobs,” says Johnson. “Hotels, motels, Holiday Inns, T.G.I. Fridays, the airport, Ford City mall, all the car lots you can go to! So that's opportunity for us and our families to grow and prosper, correct?”
The attendees nod in unison, and everybody's taking notes.
Mobility Programs got their start in Chicago in the 1970s, after a Supreme Court case known as Hills v. Gautreaux forced the city to address decades of housing policies that promoted racial segregation and concentrated poverty.
Since Chicago’s early experiments, mobility programs have spread to other cities. And the big question now is do they work? Can moving from one polka dot on the map to another really affect a life, down the road?
Seitia Harris and her family have one answer to that question.
Eight years ago, they moved from a public housing project in Chicago to a middle class suburb a 40-minute drive away, where they didn't know a soul. Harris was 35, single, and had just given birth to her fourth child. In an interview she did back then she explained her motivation for moving. “I didn't want another generation of my family being stuck,” she said. “I wanted them to strive for much more.”
Seitia Harris interview from 2005. Originally aired on APM’s Weekend America.
Now, Harris and her family live in another Chicago suburb, and her newborn, T’nya, is a second grader.
T’nya has had a very different childhood from the rest of her family. She knows her brother and sisters grew up in a poor neighborhood. She's visited it a few times, and it’s left an impression. “They shoot there,” she says. “And boys’ pants go down. They sag.”
T’nya's oldest sister, Neosha, was in middle school when her family moved. Now Neosha is about to graduate college with a double major in business and education.
Neosha Reese in her college dorm room.
Neosha has always been a smart kid and a good student, and it’s quite possible she’d be exactly where she is today even if she’d never left her old neighborhood. But sometimes, when she goes back to visit, she wonders.
“I see the people I grew up with,” she says. “It's like ‘oh, wow. If was still here would I have a baby like they do? Would I have dropped out in high school like they did? I'm just really grateful that we actually did move. That I did have opportunities.”
Neosha believes moving offered her new opportunities, and new expectations. At her old school, she says she was Student of the Year every year. “There was no competition. And then once I moved, I was no longer student of the year anymore. I had to actually work hard to get back to where I was.”
Stories like Neosha’s are familiar to James Rosenbaum, a sociologist at Northwestern University, who’s spent decades tracking families who’ve participated in Chicago residential mobility programs. Again and again, he’s heard tales of people “uncovering abilities they didn't know they had,” he says.
“This program takes families out of neighborhoods that are dangerous and stressful and puts them into neighborhoods where they can go out and play and not worry about gunshots, and live a calm and quiet life where they can concentrate.”
Things don't always work out, Rosenbaum cautions. Some families face isolation or discrimination in their new neighborhoods. Some move back to their old ones. But, Rosenbaum says geography clearly has some real power over destiny.
Over time, he's followed families involved in an early mobility program from the 1990s known as Gautreaux, which moved people from Chicago housing projects to remote middle class suburbs. Rosenbaum found “down the line, really big improvements,” for the outcomes of the children who moved compared to their counterparts who stayed in poor urban neighborhoods. “They were more likely to graduate high school, they were more likely to go to college, and if they didn't go to college they were more likely to have a job,” he says.
Still, you might ask, instead of uprooting people from their neighborhoods, why not invest in those neighborhoods, and bring more opportunities to them? That's important, Rosenbaum says. But it also takes time. And kids grow up fast.
President Obama laid out his plans for the next year during his State of the Union address. Host Michel Martin speaks with a group of diverse people about the address and their hopes for the year ahead. Her guests are Oakland Lewis, who is looking for work, immigrant rights activist Gaby Pacheco, and Trei Dudley, a college student.
Presidential speeches are usually meant to inspire — and sometimes challenge — Americans. Host Michel Martin continues her State of the Union conversation with a group of diverse people: Oakland Lewis, who is looking for work, Gaby Pacheco, an immigrant rights activist, and Trei Dudley, a college student.
Beginning March 1st, many people who receive social security and other federal benefits will no longer receive paper checks. The Treasury Department says sending payments electronically will save nearly a billion dollars. But some experts say it could affect the "un-banked." Host Michel Martin talks with The Wall Street Journal's Sudeep Reddy.
New labels will define serving sizes clearly and state that each serving contains 0.6 ounces of alcohol. The changes come as part of a deal to settle the Federal Trade Commission's claim that Four Loko maker Phusion Projects engaged in deceptive advertising.
Firstborn children are more likely to have higher blood pressure and be more resistant to insulin, researchers in New Zealand say. But despite those worrisome signs, there's no hard evidence linking birth order to diabetes or heart disease risk in adulthood.
What's said and written about a State of the Union address on the morning after can determine what's most remembered. Headline writers have zeroed in on the president's talk about lifting the middle class, getting the economy moving and new gun laws.
In last night's State of the Union address, President Obama declared he wants to make pre-school available to every child in America: "Every dollar we invest in high quality early-childhood education, can save more than $7 later on -- by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime." What are Obama's plans for universal pre-school access, high-school funding, and higher education?
President Obama also proposed an increase to the federal minimum wage in his address last night: “Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour,” he said. Would such an increase help or hurt minimum wage workers?
From Washington politics to pizza in Boston. In a twist, some former employees who'd been duped out of overtime pay are becoming part-owners of a Harvard Square pizzeria they used to work for.
And finally, to Japan, where one company is offering insurance for unlikely people who don't get any chocolate for Valentine's Day. The policy holder will receive a package of sweets and a personal message from a quote "beautiful lady" to avoid embarrassment. The cost is 500 yen, or about $5.
In the State of the Union, Obama defends the legality of drone strikes and promises more openness with Congress.
The Florida senator has joined in the joking about his big stretch for a big drink as he was giving the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address.
Also: An award for the year's most cutting book review; how it feels to hold Sylvia Plath's hair; and Donna Tartt's new book will be out this fall.
As investigators work to determine whether the charred body inside a California mountain cabin is that of former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Jordan Dorner, dramatic reports are emerging about what authorities hope were the last hours of the massive manhunt for the accused killer.