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.
“There is still some stigma about men who say, ‘My kids are more important than my work,’ ” said Scott Coltrane, a sociologist studying fatherhood who is the interim president of the University of Oregon. “And basically that’s the message when men take it. But the fact that women are now much more likely to be at least a principal breadwinner, if not the main breadwinner, really changes the dynamic.”
The Canadian lender TD Bank was one of the good guys during the housing boom. It didn’t gorge itself on subprime loans and end up in the crosshairs of government investigators. The bank prides itself on being a responsible company, and puts out an impressive corporate responsibility report discussing its work. Among other things, its philanthropic arm, the TD Charitable Foundation, funds in the housing sector, giving away $2.5 million a year in a competitive grant award program called “Housing for Everyone.”
Mid-Valley Women’s Crisis Service in Salem, Oregon, is changing things up in big ways. Along with new digs, it’s also getting a new name: The Center for Hope & Safety. The newly rebranded nonprofit is getting help from the Meyer Memorial Trust, among other community partners, to build a new and larger center. With $150,000 from the Meyer Memorial Trust to buy and renovate a new space, this nonprofit will be able to better service survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
One way to help ensure that kids turn into thriving adults is to reduce their exposure to abusive situations. That logic of prevention is why the Houston Endowment has long been investing in a nonprofit called Childbuilders.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation is known for being laser-focused on improving the lives of children, so it makes sense that it backs efforts to promote adoption. And that’s a good thing, too, since it turns out that we still have a lot to learn about adoption. Much work needs to be done to dispel myths in this area and to strengthen programs that are giving kids permanency at every stage of childhood.
An estimated 1,000 immigrant children without parents face rapid deportation in New York City. Two of the city’s biggest funders are teaming up with the New York City Council to deal with the emergency.