The Ford Foundation has been working to close the racial wealth gap for over two decades, a gap much in the news these days, and one part of that effort has been to help “unbanked” low-income people escape from the shady world of payday lending and worse, and access the financial services that middle-class people take for granted. To that end, Ford recently gave $1 million dollars to the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) to continue its work on building financial tools for the underserved.
Think of the Gates Foundation and housing is probably not an issue that comes to mind. But the foundation has actually spent millions to reduce homelessness and boost affordable housing options for low-income people, with nearly all this money going to support work in Washington State.
Today is Giving Tuesday, and while you may not know what Bitcoin is or how to use it for philanthropy, that may well change by the time that next year’s Giving Tuesday rolls around.
If, ten years ago, someone told you that a Bangladeshi bank would be coming to the U.S. to specialize in giving loans to women below the poverty line, would you have believed them? Probably not. But that’s what is happening as Grameen America, the U.S. version of Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus’s Grameen Bank, expands its operatons. Most notably, it’s rolling out 13 new branches in LA County.
Kauffman, like many foundations of the mid-20th century, was founded by a ROWG (in texting slang, that’s Rich Old White Guy). Ewing Marion Kauffman was a small pharmaceuticals manufacturer who hit the big time. He started developing his Marion Laboratories in his basement, and went on to grow his initial $5,000 investment into a merger with Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals in 1989, with estimated revenues of $930 million.
Sam Zell is a Chicago businessman with a fortune of nearly $5 billion. His wife Helen is a philanthropist with wide interests and liberal views. The couple has been stepping up their giving, and we watch them closely, although we’re often struck by the inscrutability of the Zell Family Foundation’s giving, and always on the lookout for clues as to where the Zells’ philanthropy is going.
The Bronx is a tough part of New York. More than 30 percent of Bronx residents live below the federal poverty line and unemployment is well above the national average, especially for young people of color. That’s why it’s so important that funders like Capital One Foundation are investing in workforce training, to help people get on the first rung of the employment ladder in health care.