Bradley Prizes Announced
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation awarded its annual Bradley Prizes to Martin Gilbert, Arnold C. Harberger, William Kristol and, collectively, to the founders and leaders of the Federalist Society. The prizes were presented on June 3, 2009, at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Each prize includes a $250,000 award in appreciation of the honoree’s contributions to the preservation and promotion of democratic capitalism and limited, competent government, in line with the ideals of the Bradley Foundation’s founders.
Gilbert, an honorary fellow of Merton College, Oxford, and a distinguished fellow at Hillsdale College, is the official biographer of Winston Churchill. He has helped shape the understanding of the American role in protecting freedom in the 20th century, from World War I to the Cold War. Harberger, a professor of economics at the University of California, Los Angeles, has made groundbreaking contributions to the studies of public finance and fiscal policy, in addition to serving as an economic policy advisor to developing countries. Kristol, the founder and editor of the Weekly Standard and a Fox News Channel analyst, is a leading architect of conservative thought.
The Federalist Society organizes activities that foster appreciation for limited, constitutional government, property rights and markets, federalism, and the rule of law in protecting individual freedom. Spencer Abraham, Steven Calabresi, David McIntosh, and Lee Liberman Otis founded the society in 1982 while they were law students at Harvard, Yale, and the University of Chicago. Under the leadership of Eugene Meyer and Leonard Leo, the Federalist Society has grown to 200 chapters at law schools nationwide.
RWJF: RNs to NJ, Stat!
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce announced in May 2009 a new $22 million program designed to help curb the state’s shortage of nurses. The five-year New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) aims to expand the ranks of nursing faculties at New Jersey colleges and universities.
New Jersey’s nursing schools currently lack the capacity to accept all qualified applicants. The problem is compounded by the fact that more than 50 percent of the registered nurses in the state are within a decade of retirement. An influx of younger nurses is therefore crucial to meet New Jersey’s future healthcare needs. Central to NJNI is its Faculty Preparation Program, which has awarded $13.5 million in grants to nursing schools to support master’s and doctoral degree programs. In order to attract younger instructors, the program also supports the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Jersey Nursing Scholars—46 nursing students who have committed, upon becoming instructors, to teach in New Jersey for three years. They not only receive full tuition support, but also a $50,000 annual stipend.
In addition to the scholars program, NJNI will create strategic working groups dedicated to developing new methods of increasing nursing education capacity, expanding fundraising efforts, and spearheading public policy projects. NJNI is also piloting an online application program for prospective nursing students that will enable them to complete a single application for all the nursing schools in New Jersey.
Giving When It Hurts
On June 25, 2009, the Boston Foundation announced plans to increase grantmaking during the next fiscal year. The community foundation, made up of 900 charitable funds, says it plans to pay out $17.2 million in discretionary grants, up from $16.9 million in 2009.
This increase comes despite a 19 percent decline in the foundation’s assets. It also saw donations fall from $102 million in 2008 to $75 million this year. “We have to find the opportunities for meaningful and effective change that times of distress can create,” said Paul Grogan, the Boston Foundation’s chief executive. “We speak of the utility of trouble as a way to remind ourselves that times like these can also serve as seed beds for powerful new ideas that will serve the region in the future.”
Two of the foundation’s discretionary grants went to organizations dedicated to strengthening the long-term viability of the nonprofit sector: the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network and the Boston University School of Management’s Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Other notable grantees include the Children’s Investment Fund, which provides access to early childhood care, and the Family Nurturing Center of Massachusetts, which received $75,000 and $150,000, respectively.
Texas Hold ‘Em?
In June 2009, Texas adopted a law which proponents claim helps preserve donor intent after banks and other institutions assume control of a foundations assets. The new law, signed by Gov. Rick Perry, requires trustees of orphan trusts to seek court approval before moving the administration of the trust or foundation out of Texas. Orphan trusts are trusts left to the care of fiduciary agents. Problems can arise when fiduciaries are acquired by out-of-state institutions that intend to consolidate trust management and operations elsewhere.
In an interview with the New York Times, Texas state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, the law’s author, criticized those stewards who “take the trusts to distant places where no voice is there to step in and express concerns.” He adds that he would like to see legislation of this kind eventually take place on a national scale.
To comply with the new law, trustees must notify the state attorney general’s office of plans to relocate trust operations. A court will then determine whether the proposed relocation interferes with the founder’s intentions. If a financial institution fails to comply with the law’s provisions, the court may appoint a new financial institution to administer the trust.
The fate of the Robert U. and Mabel O. Lipscomb Foundation is a notable example of the kind of behavior the law’s supporters criticize. In their will, the Lipscombs charged a local bank with ensuring that the foundation’s assets be directed in equal parts to the Roman Catholic Diocese of El Paso, the El Paso Museum of Art, and organizations in El Paso that serve people with hearing and vision problems. After the bank was acquired by J. P. Morgan, it moved operations from El Paso to Delaware, and, according to the Times, “did not always comply.” (Moreover, the Times claims that the foundation’s new trustees paid out less than the 5 percent of assets required by law, a practice which continued until a 2007 Times article reported on it.)
The Texas Bankers’ Association and Bank of America have objected to the laws premise. John Briggance, president of the Texas Bankers’ Association, told the Times: “The law is in a form we can live with, but I respectfully disagree with the premise that restricting the location of certain trust functions serves the purpose of ensuring a donor’s intentions.”
The Very Anonymous Donor
Since March 1, 2009, 14 colleges and universities have received a welcome respite from downbeat economic news. They are the recipients of an unusual series of multimillion-dollar donations. The gifts, instances of remarkable generosity in themselves, have attracted additional attention because of the absence of a signature on the bottom of the check.
While donors often request that a university withhold their identities from the general public, this secret benefactor (or group of benefactors) has an even greater penchant for privacy. He or she has made the donations on the condition that his or her identity remains unknown even to university administrators. In an Associated Press report, Phillip D. Adams, vice president for university advancement at Norfolk State University, observed, “In my last 28 years in fundraising . . . this is the first time I’ve dealt with a gift that the institution didnt know who the donor is.”
Each transaction takes place through a lawyer or some other middleman. The donation arrives in the form of a cashiers check only after the institution agrees not to investigate the source of the funds. The total amount granted with these unfamiliar specifications currently exceeds $80 million. The grants, which range from $1 million to $10 million, often come in two parts—funds specifically allocated to provide scholarships for female and minority students and those that can be used at the university’s discretion.
So far, most of the recipient institutions, which include Purdue, the University of Iowa, Michigan State University, and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, are public universities (the exception being Kalamazoo College, a private college that received $2 million). For many of these institutions, faced with state budget cuts, such private generosity is unprecedented. For the University of Southern Mississippi, the $6 million grant it received from the mystery benefactor represents the largest donation in the school’s history. There is otherwise no easily identifiable geographic or institutional pattern that explains the choice of recipients. The only common characteristic that curious speculators have identified is that all of the institutions are led by a female president. (Experts place the odds of this being a coincidence at roughly 1 in 50 million.)
Imagined explanations for the donor’s desire for secrecy range from sinister to selfless, but the institutions themselves are more interested in putting the generosity to work than engaging in a guessing game. As Catherine Sweet-Windham, vice president for institutional advancement at the University of Maryland University College, told the New York Times, “We’re not focusing on the whodunit part. We’re focusing on how this will help our students and letting the donor know that their investment in this institution is a good one.”
Phillips Fellowships Awarded
The Phillips Foundation recently announced the winners of its annual journalism fellowship, which underwrites work by emerging journalists (with fewer than 10 years of professional experience) in support of American culture and a free society. Ten writers were awarded a total of $320,000. Among the 200910 fellows are Sheryl Blunt of Christianity Today; Reilly Capps of the Telluride Daily Planet; Michael Brendan Dougherty, formerly of the American Conservative; Gary Emerling of the Washington Times; Evan Hall of the San Francisco Recorder; James Kirchick of the New Republic; Christian Lowe of Military.com; Stephen Morse, a San Franciscobased freelance journalist; the Sam Adams Alliance’s Katherine Truesdell; and Robert VerBruggen of National Review.
The funded projects cover foreign and domestic policy and political concerns, ranging from Dougherty’s proposal on “the contradictions of the economic crisis” to VerBruggen’s examination of how American universities treat racial issues. The fellowships were announced in Washington, D.C., on May 12, 2009, at a dinner honoring Brit Hume of Fox News Channel with a lifetime achievement award.
Thomas L. Phillips, the chairman of Eagle Publishing, the parent company of Regnery and Human Events, is an impresario of conservative publishing. He founded the Phillips Foundation in 1990; since 1994, it has offered fellowships to cultivate the next generation of conservative journalists. Previous Phillips Fellows include Philanthropy contributors Eric Cohen, Brendan Conway, Duncan Currie, Mark Hemingway, Jonathan V. Last, and Naomi Schaefer Riley. In 2007, Phillips alum Shai Oster received a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of China in the Wall Street Journal.