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October 03, 2016

Daily News Roundup: Powell Jobs Giving Venture Makes Hollywood Investment

Powell Jobs Invests in Showbiz Firm to Pursue Social Mission: The Emerson Collective, the limited-liability company that funds Silicon Valley billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs's philanthropic efforts, has bought a stake in Hollywood production house Anonymous Content with an eye toward developing entertainment products that reflect her social agenda, reports The New York Times. Anonymous co-produced the Oscar-winning film Spotlight and manages numerous A-list actors and directors. Ms. Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, said in a statement that she “believes in the power of storytelling to shape our culture and improve lives.” Her giving and impact investing have focused to date on public education and immigration reform.

Accountability Issues Cost Canadian Charity Big Gift: Canadian supermarket executive and philanthropist Andrew Faas withdrew a $761,000 (in U.S. dollars) donation to a Toronto mental-health hospital, saying the organization was not forthcoming about how it was using the money, Global News reports. Mr. Faas’s foundation, which focuses on the issue of workplace bullying, gave the funds to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to develop a program to create more psychologically sound workplaces. The donor said his inquiries about the project’s progress were met with “gobbledygook answers.” The charity declined to comment specifically on the Faas donation but said it has “a rigorous process of objective financial oversight.”

New Philadelphia Orchestra Deal Ends Short Strike: Musicians ratified a three-year contract on Sunday, ending a two-day work stoppage, The New York Times writes. Players walked out Friday just before a season-opening gala, saying an offer then on the table did not do enough to restore big pay and benefit cuts implemented during the orchestra’s bankruptcy in 2011-12. The new deal includes successive raises of 2, 2.5, and 2.5 percent, bringing musicians’ base pay to $137,800. Cellist John Koen, the musicians’ chief negotiator, said the contract does not go far enough, but players “wanted to avoid harming the institution.” The dispute came amid a fresh spurt of orchestra labor strife, The Washington Post notes, with musicians in Pittsburgh and Fort Worth currently striking.

Global Citizen Fest Showcases New Brand of Charity Gig: With its digital outreach and focus on direct activism, the star-studded Global Citizen Festival demonstrates how “the charity-concert model is changing,” The Economist writes. The antipoverty event, held each September in New York City, does not charge admission; rather, festivalgoers earn tickets by completing online actions such as signing petitions or tweeting world leaders to spend more on vaccines, clean water, education, and other measures. The social-media push prompted the prime ministers of Norway and Sweden to take the stage at the 2015 festival and announce new poverty-fighting commitments. Hugh Evans, who co-founded the festival in 2012, said its model is based on the notion that ending poverty requires thinking beyond fundraising concerts and billionaires’ donations.

Bronx Museum Moves Forward After Board Upheaval: In the wake of internal tensions that saw six of 28 board members exit in August, the Bronx Museum is regrouping and continuing to pursue a Cuba project that contributed to the defections, writes The New York Times. The board’s chair and vice chair resigned in a dispute over what they claimed were unilateral decisions by museum director Holly Block, including a plan to devote institutional resources to an art exchange with Cuba rather than focusing on local programs. The controversy came three months after the museum announced a $25 million campaign to establish an endowment. Other board members have defended Ms. Block, who called the discord “sad” and said the museum will “learn from this.”

Tips for Creating a Charity Fund to Remember a Loved One: A New York Times financial column offers advice on establishing a foundation or other giving vehicle in memory of a loved one and operating it effectively and efficiently. Such organizations often support particular causes favored by the person being honored. Options noted include using online crowdfunding to raise initial resources and outsourcing operations and paperwork via donor-advised funds or umbrella nonprofits that management scholarship and other giving programs.

Denver Museum Patron Frederic Hamilton Dies at 89: The longtime Denver Art Museum donor and board member passed away Friday after a brief illness, reports The Denver Post. Mr. Hamilton, who built a fortune in the oil and investment industries, announced plans in early 2014 to leave his $100 million collection of Impressionist paintings to the museum. Several years earlier, he donated $20 million for a museum expansion and spearheaded a fundraising campaign to create an endowment to support the new building, which was named for him. He was also a donor to health, youth, and education causes in Colorado.