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February 9, 2021

Subject: America’s 50 Top Donors — Our New Issue

America’s 50 Top Donors — Our New Issue

Charities have long urged the ultrawealthy to look beyond the nation’s largest universities and medical centers in their giving — and in 2020, billionaires answered the call. Read about our annual Philanthropy 50 survey of America’s top donors, along with the rest of our new issue.

Nonprofit News From Elsewhere

A board member of the National Rifle Association has asked that an outside examiner step in to investigate allegations of "fraud, dishonesty, incompetence, and gross mismanagement" against the organization. Phillip Journey, a Kansas state judge, has asked the judge overseeing the NRA's bankruptcy to appoint a watchdog after more than a year of accusations of cronyism and expenses abuse. The NRA has filed for bankruptcy protection and is seeking to move from New York to Texas as New York's attorney general sues for its dissolution over the financial malfeasance claims. Journey's request is the type of added scrutiny that some legal experts had warned the NRA would invite if it resorted to bankruptcy. (Wall Street Journal — subscription)

Jeff Bezos’s decision to step down as Amazon’s CEO and concentrate more on philanthropy raises some pressing questions, given how much money he has to give. Among them: How much will he give away and how quickly, which causes will he favor, and how transparent will he be with his gifts? With his wealth, estimated at $197 billion, Bezos could “fundamentally transform certain fields,” one expert said, even as he is legally accountable to no one for his charitable choices. (MarketWatch)

Baylor University and Southwestern Seminary have settled a lawsuit to maintain the largess of a foundation set up to benefit them. Board members of the Harold E. Riley Foundation had moved to divert some of its funds away from the institutions after Southwestern fired its president in 2018. One of the board members had been Southwestern's vice president for advancement under the dismissed president for 11 years. The institutions sued, given that the foundation had been established to support them, Riley's alma maters. In the settlement, three board members resigned and will be replaced by four members from the institutions. In addition, the three resigned members will be banned from leadership positions or employment at any charities in Texas or at any organizations that are part of the Southern Baptist Convention. (Christianity Today)

About Nonprofit Leadership

  • Housing Boss Is Fired and Faces Criminal Inquiry After Reports of Abuse (New York Times)
  • Robin Hood Head Wes Moore Is Departing Anti-Poverty Group (Bloomberg). Plus: Moore joined the Chronicle for a live online briefing last December, with Edgar Villanueva. Listen now.
  • Ilyse Hogue, Influential Abortion Rights Advocate, Will Step Down as Naral Chief (New York Times)

More News

  • Elon Musk Funds $100 Million Contest for Carbon Removal (Axios)
  • How Long Can Jeffrey Epstein’s Former Friend Leon Black Keep His Museum Board Chairmanship? (Vanity Fair)
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