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September 16, 2016

Daily News Roundup: Tech Boom Has Downside for Silicon Valley Nonprofits

Nonprofits in Bay Area Losing Out on Tech Talent: Rising tech-sector salaries and skyrocketing living costs are proving a major hindrance to nonprofits in the region with a technology focus, Fast Company writes. As digital tools become increasingly integral to charities’ programs and service delivery, groups offering help in this area are being priced out of the market for designers, coders, and other tech talent. Silicon Valley giants’ corporate-social-responsibility efforts only fill part of the gap, nonprofit leaders in the region say.

Hedge Fund Got Millions From Jewish Charity Before Failing: Platinum Partners, which is now in liquidation and has been linked to a federal corruption investigation, received a $2.3 million loan in May from Torah Umesorah, a Brooklyn nonprofit that aids Orthodox Jewish schools, The Forward writes. A few weeks after the loan, Murray Huberfeld, a Platinum associate and donor to Orthodox synagogues and schools in Brooklyn, was charged with bribing a New York union leader to invest pension funds with Platinum. The financial firm shut down its two main funds in July. Torah Umesorah did not invest with Platinum and its relationship to the firm is unclear, according to The Forward.

Tech Mogul Benioff Adds Oceans to Philanthropic Mission: Salesforce.com billionaire Marc Benioff and the University of California at Santa Barbara announced a project to address marine-health issues like pollution, overfishing, and climate impacts on coral, USA Today reports. The internet mogul, who has waterfront homes in California and Hawaii, is donating $10 million to launch the Benioff Ocean Initiative. The marine-health project “is the start of something for me,” he said. Mr. Benioff has donated hundreds of millions of dollars for children’s health and been an evangelist for greater Silicon Valley giving.

Critics Hit College’s Use of Librarian’s Bequest for Football Scoreboard: The University of New Hampshire is drawing fire for devoting a quarter of a $4 million gift from a late campus librarian to build a video scoreboard for the campus’s football stadium, according to The Washington Post. The bequest from Robert Morin was unrestricted save for $100,000 earmarked for the university’s Dimond Library, where he worked for 49 years. The scoreboard spending drew online criticism from alumni and others who said the university was prioritizing athletics over the priorities of the donor, who died last year at age 77. The university said Mr. Morin, who stockpiled a small fortune over a lifetime of frugality and saving, developed a strong interest in football in his final years.
Review Finds Head of N.Y. College Did Not Misuse $500,000 Gift: A City College of New York inquiry determined that the institution’s president acted within her authority in drawing on a donation for arts programming to pay adjunct faculty salaries, reports The New York Times. Senior faculty requested the review after discovering in July that an account with the public college’s foundation that should have held more than $600,000 as a result of the gift from arts patrons Martin and Toni Sosnoff contained only $76. Deep cuts in the college’s budget led President Lisa Coico to tap the account, which had previously funded arts events and academic programs, to compensate adjunct arts teachers, the review found.

Obituary: Amy Hagedorn, Long Island Donor and Immigration Activist: Ms. Hagedorn, whose eponymous foundation focused on immigration reform as well as supporting family and early-education causes on Long Island, died at 79 of complications from lymphocytic cancer, Newsday reports. The daughter of an Italian immigrant, Ms. Hagedorn came into wealth relatively late in life when she married Horace Hagedorn, the founder of garden-products firm Miracle-Gro. The Amy Hagedorn Foundation, which she launched in 2005 with $58 million from her husband’s estate, grew into a national voice on immigration policy. Read a Chronicle of Philanthropy article about the Hargedon Foundation's work on immigration reform.