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July 05, 2017

Daily News Roundup: Charities Got $200 Million From Suspect in Massive Malaysia Fraud

Central Figure in Alleged Malaysia Fraud Was Big Donor to Stars’ Causes: Charities founded or favored by actor Leonardo DiCaprio and singer Alicia Keys were among the beneficiaries of more than $200 million in giving by investor Jho Low, writes the New York Post. Investigators allege Mr. Low’s philanthropy was funded by a multibillion-dollar embezzlement from a Malaysian development fund.

Changes at Metropolitan Museum of Art Won’t Affect $1 Billion Gift: Cosmetics tycoon Leonard Lauder tells The New York Times that his 2013 pledge of a trove of Cubist masterpieces remains in force. The museum’s recent management shake-up and decision to delay a new wing to house the collection had raised questions about whether the gift would go forward.

Obama Foundation Chief Sets Goal of Improving “Civic Health”: David Simas, a senior adviser in the Obama White House who now heads the former president’s charitable organization, talks to NPR about the foundation’s nascent work to boost community engagement and how it will measure success.

Opinion: Jeff Bezos Tweet a Marker in Charity/Philanthropy Debate: Spurred by the Amazon founder’s suggestion that his giving might center on short-term needs, philanthropy historian Benjamin Soskis writes in The Washington Post about a resurgence of traditional charity that aims to address immediate suffering and challenges a modern philanthropy that relies on wealth and capitalism to pursue “systems change.” Read a column by Mr. Soskis on the “democratization of philanthropy” in the new issue of The Chronicle.

British Charities Face Fines for Aggressive Fundraising Under New Regulator: The Fundraising Preference Service can assess levies of more than $32,000 to nonprofits that fail to tighten data-protection practices and offer prominent opt-outs for phone, mail, and email appeals, reports The Telegraph. The British government set up the agency following scandals over major charities serially soliciting elderly people and selling donor data.

Del. Budget Restores Threatened Grants to Nonprofits: Governor John Carney signed the $4.1 billion spending plan, approved in a special legislative session to avert a government shutdown, that includes $37 million for nonprofit, community, and volunteer groups, the Associated Press reports. Partisan squabbling over tax and spending proposals had produced a preliminary budget that would have eliminated the grant program.

Opinion: Why Governments Worldwide Are Cracking Down on Nonprofits: A trio of political scientists analyze in The Washington Post the history and reasoning behind efforts by leaders in Russia, Hungary, and dozens of other low- and moderate-income countries to delegitimize and defund civil-society groups, particularly those that get financial support from abroad.