Mid-day roundup: Dell ups his giving, Lauder in Ashkelon, Spielberg props gay marriage, and Bill Cli

Since the weekly digest of news in the Jewish media seems to be a hit, I’m going to start offering a daily update on what is going on in the philanthropic world according to the general papers – including a quick-hit look at grants of interest to the Jewish non-profit world, trends in the general philanthropic world, and other news of note.

(And of course I will still focus on the important items in separate posts as well.)

Here’s what’s happening today:

  • Michael Dell, the CEO of Dell computers, announced that his company would increase its corporate and employee giving to 1 percent of Dell’s pre-tax profits, according to Marketwatch.com. Dell, who is Jewish and was in London for a conference on IT development in emerging countries, said that he and his company would focus on a global youth initiative. “The next billion Internet users coming online will largely live in emerging countries, such as Brazil, Russia, India and China,” he said. “Our new giving strategy is rightly focused on equipping youth in these areas, and around the world, for success.”
  • Steven Spielberg and his wife have given $100,000 to help fight legislation in California that would ban gay marriage, according to AFP.
  • In London, two longtime Jewish charities are merging. The Fed, formerly the Manchester Jewish Federation, a welfare agency for people in greater Manchester, and Heathlands, the Manchester Jewish Homes for the Aged, will join forces, according to the London Jewish Chronicle.
  • Countries that are donor nations to the Palestinian government are urging Israel to lift restrictions on the Palestinian territories. Those countries have so far this year pumped $1.3 billion dollars into the Palestinian economy, but they are saying Israel is strangling the economy, according to AFP.
  • Meanwhile, Ron Lauder and the governing board of the World Jewish Congress are set to meet in Ashkelon, just across the Palestinian border on Wednesday, reports the European Jewish press.
  • This just in from the Chronicle of Philanthropy: On the eve of his foundation’s annual forum on philanthropy, Bill Clinton tells the Washington Post that he is worried that the economy could undermine philanthropic giving around the world. “Around the world, the thing that I worry most about with other stock markets going down and the American market here is that it will reduce the availability of capital . . . to do things that otherwise make good sense,” Clinton said, according to the Post. Participants in the fourth annual conference must pledge $20,000 to global philanthropic initiatives.
  • Also from Marketwatch, non-profit health care facilities are expected to take a hit because of the staggering economy.
  • On a nice note, the Viterbi Family Foundation has contributed $2 million to the University of Southern California’s (and Spielberg’s) Shoah Foundation Institute Web site, which documents genocide survivors, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
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