Last month, more than 700 tuxedoed and ball-gowned revelers gathered in the Museum of Natural History’s Milstein Hall of Ocean Life for the annual S.L.E. Lupus Foundation gala. As the attendees feasted on black American caviar, Margaret Dowd, the foundation’s executive director, was marveling at something else: the size of the crowd.
The foundation had not seen so many people at its annual gala since 2007. “It’s been very tough the last few years, and we had to cut expenses drastically,” she said. “In 2009, many of our donors said, ‘Our portfolios were really harmed and we have to cut our donations, but we’ll be back.’ And they did come back. This year has been much, much better.”
The benefit raised $2.5 million—a significant jump from the $2.2 million raised at last year’s. Things have not returned to the 2007 level, when the gala’s $3.2 million haul set a national record, which has yet to be topped, for lupus research funds collected at a single event, but the foundation is on track to raise 10 to 12 percent more this year than the previous one. Ms. Dowd added that the nonprofit’s spring luncheon saw such a dramatic spike in attendance this year—a 30 percent increase—that next year they plan to hold it in the Plaza.
Newlywed Alec Baldwin has gifted the New York Philharmonic a cool $1 million to honor Zarin Mehta, the orchestra’s departing president and executive director. Mr. Mehta, whom musical director Alan Gilbert has credited with supporting cutting edge programming choices like last week’s concerts at the Park Avenue Armory, will leave in August 2012 when his contract expires.
The money is proceeds from Mr. Baldwin’s Capital One Bank commercials, and part of ongoing donations from money he’s earned from those ads to his favorite cultural institutions. This has also involved synergy with Capital One Bank itself making donations, as described in a Wall Street Journal news item last year about the actor’s philanthropic activities.
Despite appearances to the contrary, billionaire philanthropist George Soros is probably not issuing grants via email spam originating from a U.K. Microsoft Live email account. A colleague at The Observer this morning received two emails purporting to grant a $900,000 George Soros Empowerment Award to the recipient. The humorous text of the email follows:
GEORGE Read More
Billionaire investor George Soros’ efforts to legalize marijuana in California appear to have been wasted. Despite a $1 million donation in support of California’s Proposition 19 and a heartfelt op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, voters have spurned the budding ballot issue.
Advocates attempted to sell the Regulate, Control and Tax Read More
Shortly after the publication of his Wall Street Journal editorial extolling the virtues of marijuana legalization, Bloomberg reports that billionaire money manager George Soros has donated $1 million to support California’s Proposition 19. Approval of the state referendum would make it legal to possess and grow marijuana for personal use.
Soros may Read More
Marijuana really needs to be legal, billionaire octogenarian philanthropist and Wall Street heavyweight George Soros writes in today’s Wall Street Journal.
Soros highlights the tremendous cost of keeping marijuana offenders behind bars, saying law enforcement spends billions collaring 750,000 hopheads a year. He points out that black people are much more likely to Read More