Calgary community foundation receives $117-million gift from ‘Doc’ Seaman’s estate
The money has been quietly trickling in for a few years, discreetly accumulating at the behest of a larger-than-life character who asked that the magnitude of his generosity remain private upon his death.
But on Wednesday, the Calgary Foundation announced Daryl “Doc” Seaman’s $117-million donation – believed to be the largest gift to a community fund and the second-largest cash donation in Canadian history.
Blackstone founder’s Rhodes-style China scholarship
Stephen Schwarzman, the billionaire founder of private equity giant Blackstone, is spearheading a drive to create an elite international education programme in China modelled on the 111-year-old Rhodes Scholarship.
University of Calgary receives $40-million gift, largest in its history
It was half a century ago that Don Taylor was thrust in front of a class. Still a student himself, he had caught on as a sessional instructor – but didn’t know the first thing about teaching.
“I was a 22-year-old kid teaching statically indeterminate structures. I don’t even know what a statically indeterminate structure is today, but at that time I did,” recalled Mr. Taylor, now 77. “Here I am, having never taught a class in my life. It’s absolutely absurd to put a person in front of a class and expect him to teach a subject as complicated as that with no teaching skills. And yet I was there doing that.”
Estee Lauder heir donates $1bn worth of cubist art to Metropolitan Museum of Arts
Cosmetics heir and art collector Leonard A. Lauder has donated his collection of 78 Cubist works valued at more than a $1 billion to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Arts.
The collection, which consists of 33 works by Picasso, 17 by Braque, 14 by Gris and 14 by Leger, was amassed over 37 years and is considered one of the foremost collections of Cubism in the world.
“This is an extraordinary gift to our museum and our city,” Thomas P. Campbell, director and CEO of the museum, said in a statement. “Leonard’s gift is truly transformational for the Metropolitan Museum.”
The museum said the collection is unsurpassed in the number of masterpieces critical to the development of Cubism, which is considered the most influential art movement of the 20th century.
Lauder, an 80-year-old heir to the Estee Lauder cosmetics fortune, said he decided to give the collection to the museum because he felt it essential that Cubism, and the art that followed it, be seen and studied within one of the greatest museums in the world.
“The Met’s collection of modernism, together with those of MoMA, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney, reinforce the city’s standing as the center for 20th-century art and fuel New York’s ongoing role as the art capital of the world,” he said in a statement.
The museum said it is establishing a new research center for modern art which will be supported by a $22 million endowment funded by museum trustees and supporters, including Lauder.
Picasso’s “The Scallop Shell” (“Notre avenir est dans l’air”) (1912) and “Woman in an Armchair” (Eva) (1913) and Braque’s “Trees at L’Estaque” (1908) and “The Violin” (Mozart/Kubelick) (1912) are among the highlights of the collection, which will be presented at the museum for the first time in an exhibition scheduled to open in the fall of 2014.
Hundreds of Missouri residents turned out to shave their heads to help raise money for the fight against cancer.
Clinton Awards More Than $700,000 to Haiti Farms
A charity for former U.S. President Bill Clinton (pictured above during a visit to the sisal fiber production company Sisalco S.A. in Port-au-Prince,) awarded more than $700,000 to develop the country’s agriculture sector.
The Clinton Foundation announced Monday that the grants will go toward efforts to plant trees, build a coffee farm and train farmers.
Clinton has been the United Nations’ special envoy to Haiti since shortly before the devastating 2010 earthquake. He left Haiti following a two-day visit accompanied by potential investors representing a perfume company, restaurants and a lingerie company.
“The country has been beat down so long and the controversies are so familiar to people that it’s sometimes too easy to see the down side. I’m not naive. I know what the down side is,” he told The Associated Press. But, even so, he said, “This is a place of staggering potential.”
One of the delegation’s visits on Monday was to a brewery Heineken NV purchased last year. The company announced on Monday that it would invest $40 million to expand the brewery and help farmers who supply it with sorghum.
President Michel Martelly is trying to lure foreign investors to help rebuild the Caribbean nation following the massive quake. His administration has routinely employed the mantra, “Haiti is open for business.”
But analysts in both Haiti and abroad say the nation is held back by an old-fashioned banking system and a dysfunctional justice system that provides little legal certainty for investors.
Other deterrents include U.S. government advisories that alert travelers to security concerns, a cholera epidemic and inadequate infrastructure.
The travel warnings didn’t escape the notice of first-time Haiti visitor Mario Batali, an American celebrity chef, even if he did have the luxury of traveling with Clinton’s security detail.
“The danger is in my opinion very overplayed,” said Batali, wearing his signature orange Crocs and shorts.
Batali said he could imagine introducing Haitian products to customers in his Italian restaurants: “I could see using their coffee. I could see using their mangoes. I could see using their rum. I could see using just about everything we’ve bumped into.”
Nicaragua builds solar farm with Japan’s donation
Nicaragua has inaugurated a solar farm that the government says will benefit 1,100 homes.
The state-owned National Company of Electricity Transmission, or Enatrel, says in a statement that the array includes 5,880 solar panels. It says that Japan donated $11.4 million to build the solar farm and that Nicaragua invested $530,000.
Enatrel said Thursday that the farm will generate enough energy to supply 1,100 homes that consume an average of 150 kilowatt hour a month.
‘Breaking Bad’ Donates Cast Clothing To Homeless Shelter In Albuquerque, New Mexico
A Walt White robe. Baby Holly’s pink hoodies. Sweaters worn by DEA agents trying to break up a drug smuggling ring.
These are among the items the AMC hit television series “Breaking Bad,” a show about the methamphetamine wars in Albuquerque, donated to a city shelter in an effort to help the homeless – and give fans a chance to own some TV history memorabilia.
New Mexico’s largest emergency shelter said the surprise gift came last week when show dropped off boxes of clothing worn by cast members from past episodes.
“We got a call from someone from “Breaking Bad” saying, hey, `we’re dropping off some clothes,’” said Joy Junction CEO Jeremy Reynalds. “Then, here they were.”
The donated men’s and women’s clothing will be sold at the shelter’s thrift store beginning Wednesday, with proceeds will going toward the Albuquerque-based shelter.
Reynalds said he hasn’t had time to comb through all the boxes to see what was available. But he did find a burgundy-colored robe worn by Bryan Cranston. Also in the boxes were a number of baby clothes worn by the baby of the show, Holly White.
But he didn’t know if the boxes contained any hoodies worn by Aaron Paul or flashy shirts worn by the quietly deadly assassin brothers, Luis and Daniel Moncada.
“Fans love the show, so it’s just great that we can give some of them a lasting memory and while so doing help Joy Junction as well,” he said.
The thrift store will be open seven days a week at the shelter but will not be selling clothing online. However, Reynalds said the shelter may put clothes up on online auctions if they don’t sell at the thrift store.
“Breaking Bad” follows chemistry teacher Walter White, played by Cranston, producing and selling methamphetamine with a former student, Jesse Pinkman, played by Paul. The series is made in Albuquerque and is currently shooting its final season.
Joy Junction currently is raising money for a new chapel, dormitory and women’s center.
The thrift store in Albuquerque’s South Valley isn’t the only place fans of the show can purchase clothing from the popular show. The Candy Lady store in Albuquerque’s Old Town sells replicas of the “Heisenberg” hat, the black pork pie hat worn by Cranston’s character when he’s conducting drug business under his alias Heisenberg. The candy store also sells “Breaking Bad” T-shirts and blue meth rock candy.
“All this `Breaking Bad’ is selling like crazy,” said owner Debbie Ball, who sells item online. “The show has really grabbed fans who want anything related to it.”
The Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau recently even created a website of the show’s most popular places around town to help tourists navigate, and ABQ Trolley Company sold out all its “BaD” tours last year at $60 a ticket.
Ball also offers tours of famous Albuquerque scenes from the show in a limousine with a tour guide dressed as the character Walter White.
The nicest lottery winners ever: Couple who won $290M fund scholarships and build a fire station (and all they’ve bought for themselves is a pick-up truck)
Three months after winning half of the biggest Powerball lottery jackpot in U.S. history, Mark Hill still meets friends for morning coffee at a local convenience store.
And that Camaro sports car Mr Hill considered buying with his winnings? He got a pick-up truck instead.
While some lottery winners fritter away their fortunes or meet tragic ends, not much has outwardly changed for Mark and Cindy Hill, age 52 and 51, since they won half of a $587 million Powerball jackpot in November. They netted $136.5 million in a lump-sum payment after taxes.
The Hills, a simple, working-class family, have three grown sons and a six-year-old daughter, Jaiden, who they adopted from China.
‘They are very conservative people,’ said Walt Stubbs, a friend and former high school classmate of the Hills. ‘They are doing some really nice things for the community and they’ve taken care of their family.’
The Hills are giving money to civic projects in Mr Hill’s hometown of Camden Point, Missouri, and still live in nearby Dearborn, Missouri, as they did before winning the jackpot.
The Hills will pay for a new Camden Point fire station and ball field and gave the town more than $50,000 to buy land for a new sewage treatment plant that will eventually allow residents to give up individual septic tanks, Mayor Kevin Boydston said.
‘I’ve said all along that these lottery winnings could not have gone to a better couple,’ Boydston said. ‘They are giving back to the community, just like they said they would.’
Camden Point has fewer than 500 residents and is wedged into hills in a rural area about 30 miles north of Kansas City. Its downtown has a series of mostly empty brick buildings.
Stubbs, chief of the area’s volunteer fire department, said the new station is planned to connect directly to main roads, a major improvement on the current fire hall, which does not have quick access to highways.
‘It’s a situation where if we had to do it ourselves, it would take 25 years,’ Stubbs said.
The winning couple graduated from North Platte High School in Dearborn and have donated to a scholarship fund at that school.
The Hills, in their early 50s, told reporters at a news conference after winning the lottery they would stay in the area and give a lot of the money away. Mark Hill quit his job as a mechanic. Cindy Hill was out of work at the time.
‘I’m real proud of them,’ said Shirley Hill, Mark Hill’s mother. ‘They have stayed grounded. That’s their nature.’
History is replete with lottery winners whose lives have gone sour after becoming rich. The National Endowment for Financial Education cites research estimating that 70 percent of people who suddenly receive a large sum of money will lose it within a few years.
In 2002, Jack Whittaker - already a millionaire - won $315 million in a lottery in West Virginia. Just four years later he claimed to be broke. Whittaker gave away millions of dollars, but people also stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from him and he lost a granddaughter to a drug overdose.
Last year, Urooj Khan died just two months after winning $1 million in the Illinois lottery, from what initially appeared to be natural causes. Toxicology tests run at a relative’s request found cyanide poisoning. Police are now investigating his death as a homicide.
Maintaining a stable life such as the Hills are attempting is difficult, said Don McNay, author of ‘Life Lessons from the Lottery’ who has studied winners of big money for 30 years.
‘They are beyond exception,’ McNay said.
Most ordinary people who come into large sums of money become victims of their own lack of financial savvy or discipline, McNay said. People also come under great pressure from friends, relatives and a host of others wanting money.
Missouri Lottery spokeswoman Susan Goedde said the vast majority of lottery winners from the state were ‘doing great’ and if they were good money managers before, they would be after.
‘Circumstances may change, they may not work anymore and they have the freedom to travel,’ Goedde said. ‘But if they clipped coupons before winning the lottery, they will do it after winning.’
‘We want an equitable and peaceful world’: Sir Richard Branson to give away half his fortune to charity
Tycoon Sir Richard Branson is to give half his fortune away to charity.
He has joined a group of billionaires who have pledged to donate half their amassed wealth to try to make the world a better place.
The Virgin Media boss and his wife Joan, have joined Microsoft founder Bill Gates - said to be worth over $62 billion - and U.S. investor Warren Buffet, who trails in with $55 billion, as part of the Giving Pledge.
Sir Richard and his wife - worth an estimated £3 billion - said in their pledge letter they wanted to use cash from their Virgin empire to create a “healthy, equitable and peaceful world for future generations to enjoy.”
Sir Richard, the UK’s 4th richest man, said:”‘Stuff’ really is not what brings happiness.
“Family, friends, good health and the satisfaction that comes from making a positive difference are what really matters.
“Happily our children, who will be our principal heirs, agree with me on this.
“As and when we take monies out of the Virgin Group of companies the majority of it will be invested in entrepreneurial approaches to help make a difference in the world.”
The Giving Pledge was started three years ago by Mr Gates, his wife Melinda and Mr Buffett and within just a few months they had encouraged more than 30 other U.S. billionaires to get no board.
Sir Richard said he and his wife realised personal stuff “didn’t really matter” in the early days of their marriage.
“Joan and I lived on a houseboat and one day it sank. We realised we missed nothing except our treasured photos albums.
“Later on our house in London caught fire, destroying everything inside.
“Last year our home in the British Virgin Islands was completely gutted after it was hit by a lightning strike.
“We were so relieved everyone got out safely that even the loss of photo albums and notebooks were of little consequence.”
Sir Richard added: “We started by trying to give a voice to the young people of the 1960s and hope our Giving Pledge will help many generations to come.”
Other British signatories to the pledge include mobile phone entrepreneurs John Caudwell and Dr Mo Ibrahim, hedge fund manager Christopher Hohn and Labour peer David Sainsbury, former chair of the supermarket chain.
Janssen boosts educational development of deaf children
In line with the Johnson & Johnson credo of always effecting positive and sustainable change within the healthcare and educational sphere, Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, donated 460 DeskBags to learners of the Dominican School for Deaf Children in Hammanskraal, near Pretoria, on 31 January.
The donation will prove highly beneficial for the school’s learners, as around 89% of the students come from impoverished backgrounds, and are largely unable to acquire basic educational resources. The school currently has over 400 enrolled students aged between 3 and 25 years of age, and employs 47 teachers.
Desagen Moodley, HR Director of Janssen South Africa, confirmed that the company’s association with the Dominican School for Deaf Children and DeskBags is linked to its commitment to educational upliftment.The durable DeskBags provide a portable desk solution in both the school and home environment. Users of the bag are able to carry books and stationery in the main compartment, while a reinforced flap also provides instant desk support.
“Education is a key area of need in South Africa and is one of the company’s social investment focus points. Janssen has been involved in many educational initiatives over the years, and we often take a leading role in the improvement and upliftment of existing education initiatives for adults and children in urban and rural areas.
“We are delighted that we are able to maintain this support by providing DeskBags to all the children at the Dominican School for Deaf Children. With company initiatives such as these, the school will be able to take a significant step towards its goal of providing quality education in a safe environment.”
Janssen is one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical companies, with operations throughout the world, and more than 100 employees in South Africa. Medicines developed by Janssen are used to treat around 1,500 million patients every year.
DeskBags Managing Director, Madelain Roscher says that donations such as the one provided by Janssen are playing a vital role in addressing a very real problem in South Africa.
“Education is essential to both the development of children and the overall prosperity of South Africa. Simultaneously, there is an urgent need to improve the learning environment for school children, with a recent UNESCO report stating that over 4 million scholars in Southern Africa require desks.
“DeskBags is therefore most appreciative of the generous donation by Janssen. Thanks to this support, learners at the Dominican School for Deaf Children will now have access to an educational tool that will considerably aid and improve their scholastic development,” concludes Roscher.
For more information on how you can get involved with DeskBags, join their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DeskBags.
PICTURED ABOVE: The St Michael’s Hospice charity shop in Hastings, East Sussex has been recently refurbished with the help of donated shop fittings via Globechain.
A new website has launched enabling businesses and charities to exchange unwanted items, such as building materials and office furniture, for free
Globechain describes itself as a ‘freecycle for corporates’, and like Freecycle – a popular site for exchanging unwanted goods – it’s free for businesses to register, obtain goods and advertise items.
Based in the UK, the company hopes to create a global network of members in order to cut costs for small– to medium-sized businesses and charities. It is also aiming to help companies become more environmentally friendly by reusing items that would otherwise end up in landfill.
So far, over 100 companies have registered including the London Reuse Network, BHS and the Charity Retail Association.
One of Globechain’s first corporate clients recently donated almost £3,000-worth of shop fittings. These were then received by a St Michael’s Hospice shop in Hastings, which is currently being refurbished.
Chris Jones, head of trading for St Michael’s Hospice, said: “It is important that we keep our expenditure in our shops to a minimum in order to raise much-needed funds for St Michael’s Hospice. A service such as Globechain helps us to achieve this by allowing us to fit out our shops free of charge.”
South Africa’s first black billionaire, Patrice Motsepe, on Wednesday said he has signed up for the Giving Pledge, becoming the first African to join some of the world’s wealthiest people in donating vast sums of personal wealth to the poor.
Mining magnate Motsepe, with assets estimated by Forbes magazine of $2.65 billion, said he is making the pledge to benefit the millions of South Africans who have seen little gain in their personal fortunes since white-minority rule ended in 1994.
The Giving Pledge is a philanthropic initiative started by U.S. billionaire Warren Buffet along with Bill and Melinda Gates that has recruited nearly 100 billionaires, mostly Americans, who have pledged to donate the majority of their wealth to charity.
Motsepe, founder and executive chairman of African Rainbow Minerals, did not say exactly how much he will donate but he “will contribute at least half of the funds generated by our family assets to the Motsepe Foundation.”
Motsepe, along with his wife, told a news conference most of their donations will be used to bolster education and health in South Africa - the continent’s richest economy blighted by mass poverty and some of the world’s highest rates of income disparity.
“We recognize the huge responsibility and duty that the Motsepe family has to the poor,” said Motsepe, adding he would push other wealthy South Africans to follow suit.
PICTURED ABOVE: At the presentation Tribal Council member Chuck Hoskin, Jr.(l to r), center executive director Holly Webb, Principal Chief Bill John Baker, center board member Tami Jennings, Tribal Council member Lee Keener and Deputy Chief Joe Crittenden.
Cherokee Nation Donates $10,000 for Child Abuse Advocacy
The Cherokee Nation is helping the William W. Barnes Children’s Advocacy Center assist more victims of child abuse through a $10,000 donation.
“The Cherokee Nation is proud to help fund the William W. Barnes Children’s Advocacy Center in Claremore,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “We have an obligation to protect the most vulnerable among us – our children. By partnering with the center, we reinforce that resolute commitment to the wellness of children and families in Rogers, Craig and Mayes counties.”
The nonprofit opened in 2001 and serves about 200 children in Rogers, Craig and Mayes counties per year. The center performs forensic interviews, medical evaluations and mental health treatment in a nurturing environment that is in one location to help child victims and their families be more at ease. The center also helps in preparation for court cases.
“The William W. Barnes Children’s Advocacy Center is extremely grateful to Cherokee Nation for their contribution,” said Holly Webb, executive director of the center. “Our services are provided at no cost to children and their families. This donation ensures that services will continue without interruption.”
More than 675,000 children were abused nationwide in 2011, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. The American Indian population had the second highest rate of victims per 1,000 children of all races and ethnicities.
Navajo First Lady and President Help Deliver Toys to Tuba City Children
On December 17 and 18, Navajo Nation First Lady Martha Shelly helped make the holiday season special for Tuba City, Arizona youth by helping to deliver more than 8,000 toys.
According to a Navajo Nation press release, the first lady and the Native American Toys for Tots Program coordinated the Toys for Tots toy giveaway that included another 80,000 gifts Navajo Nation wide.
“I am thankful that some of our children will have toys this Christmas. I’m thankful to the Toys for Tots program for helping us get toys to our young ones. It makes me feel good to see the children smile when they get a gift,” First Lady Shelly said.
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly accompanied his wife in helping Lt. Col. Peter Tagni, coordinator for the Native American Toys for Tots program.
“I’m thankful that we can help the children of the Navajo Nation and other Native American tribes. I can see the happiness and it makes me feel good,” said Tagni, who is retired from the Marine Corps and has been coordinating the Native American Toys for Tots program for 30 years.
Tagni was honored at an appreciation dinner on Tuesday and received a Pendleton robe.
On December 17, stops were made to the Eagle Nest Intermediate School where age appropriate gifts were delivered, then to Tuba City Middle School, where seventh and eighth graders received watches, books, basketballs, and digital cameras.
December 18, the first lady and President Shelly visited Head Start classes in Tuba City, followed by a community assembly at Tuba City High School where Soulfly singer Massimiliano Cavalera was the guest speaker.
“Don’t give up you dreams,” Cavalera said. “Once you achieve your dreams, you will be able to help others who need help.”
Shelly addressed the parents in attendance in his speech.
“I want our kids to be standing on top of the world,” President Shelly told the audience at Tuba City High School. “It’s up to you, the parents, to make that happen for them.”
More than 200,000 toys were given out to American Indian youth through the Toys for Tots program this holiday season.