Everyone has a theory, but thousands of studies later, we seem to have few good solutions to the fact that America’s obesity rates have tripled since the 1960s. As part of its Research Integrity program, one foundation hopes a surge in private funding will get to the bottom of this maddeningly confusing problem.
The controversy over Pierre Omidyar's funding of a pro-democracy group in Ukraine, which was instrumental in removing president Viktor Yanukovych from power, is much ado about nothing. That support has hardly been a big secret and nor did it pose some grave conflict of interest given Omidyar's support of First Look Media.
We've written a lot in recent months about the big money going to major nonprofit journalisn ventures like First Look, ProPublica, and the Marshall Project. But, of course, there's a lot of super interesting nonprofit journalism going on at the local level -- outfits like Zocalo, which is led by Gregory Rodriguez.
Groupon made her husband a famous billionaire. But in the Chicago nonprofit pond, Liz Lefkofsky is the bigger fish, with close ties to a number of organizations and a hands-on role in leading the Lefkofsky Family Foundation, which spreads its money widely for education, the arts, and health.
Foundations controlled by the Koch brothers are major donors to colleges and universities. But before going after this money, it's worth considering the headaches that may ensue. A case in point: Catholic University of America’s business and economics school recently accepted a $1 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation -- only to find itself embroiled in controversy.
Conservative foundations have been famously successful in funding strong think tanks that changed the direction of national and state policy. But some liberal funders have also understood the key role of think tanks, including Richard Boone of the Field Foundation who started the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Boone died last week.
In November, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation gave $3 million to the World Wildlife Fund to protect Nepalese tigers. And just this month, the foundation followed up with another $3 million to Oceana to stop the practice of drift gillnets, which threaten protected sea life such as dolphins, whale and turtles.
Close observers of Walton World know that there are two huge philanthropic continents on this planet: The Walton Family Foundation, which handles the family's giving, and the Wal-Mart Foundation, which handles the company's giving. But wait, real insiders know there is a third mass of wealth lurking in the shadows: The Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation.
One day it's a new $53 million initiative on oceans, yesterday it was a $10 million project to save toddlers from drowning in South Asia. There's definitely no shortage of action over there at Bloomberg Philanthropies, as we predicted there would be. But what's up with tackling drowning, which seems like a pretty obscure niche?