Top Down Philanthropy Feed

Inside Information Fuels Stock Transfer to Family Foundations?

Planned Giving Design Center:

According to a study by New York University - Stern School of Business finance professor David L. Yermack, corporate CEOs may be taking advantage of inside information to maximize charitable deductions for company stock transferred to their own private foundations. In "Deduction Ad Absurdum: CEOs Donating Their Own Stock to Their Own Family Foundations", Dr. Yermack studies 151 charitable gifts of at least $1 million noting that such gifts, which are not subject to strict insider trading rules, are often followed by sharp declines in the price of the donated stock. He even suggests CEOs may be backdating their gifts in a way similar to recent stock option backdating practices in collusion with the charitable donee and others in order to increase their personal deductions.

Article in pdf here.

Why The Rich Care About Inequality Up to A Point

Bill Gates via WSJ: Why the Rich Care About Inequality.  You could say that the article is at odds with the (alleged) creation by Microsoft of a backdoor into Windows for the National Security Administration. When none of us has privacy, including financial privacy, we are equal only as are prisoners who are montitored 24/7 by the unseen guards from behind smoked glass.  Hard to call markets free when the political authorities  can monitor the private conversations of all market players and then act upon that information in secret, preserved from public scrutiny by a rubic (figthing Terror) so all-emcompassing as to deny the right of citizens even to ask questions.  Yet, in reality, the Gates pieces does not contradit his practice:  The piece is all about maintaining social order, appeasing and co-opting dissent, that wealth might be preserved, not about freedom or equality.  Gates does much good, but the river of life as it wends its way from Eden is turbulent and muddy, with many a garbage bag, tree limb, and here and there, a floating body.  We should be glad that our betters, the wise and the good, are handling this for us.  I for one would like to see more cooperation between business and the state security apparatus. We're all in this together.

Ami Dar and Omidyar

Very interesting to watch this thread unfold on with commentary now from the Chronicle on Philanthropy. The story was picked up by Philanthropy News Digest, and was noted in an email today by Foundation Center Online.  Alison Fine has blogged it, as has Lucy Bernholz.  Ami Dar of expressed on the talking side of the Omidyar site his exasperation with the funding side. So far the only comment from Omidyar on the situation was a note to Dar telling him that his long-pending funding proposal was denied.  All I want to say is that having an open conversation like this is healthy. I wish there were more places that the public, grant-seekers, and funders could interact in a human way, despite the vast differentials in wealth, power, and access.  Giving Ami "the silent treatment" is ok for now; it speaks volumes;  but as more and more people use the net to go public with the private transcripts of philanthropy, foundation wealth will increasingly have to answer to the public it serves, lest it seem imperious.