Philanthropy Today, The Chronicle’s free, daily e-mail newsletter, is
delivered to more than 68,000 subscribers every weekday.
Have you had your Philanthropy Today?
Go to Philanthropy.com/myaccount and click on “Create a Free Account”
the chronicle of
Merck to Give $500-Million
to Boost Maternal Health
By Caroline Preston
Merck, the pharmaceutical
giant, announced last month
that it will spend $500-million
over the next decade to reduce
the number of women who die
during pregnancy and childbirth. The announcement was
one of several high-profile pledges made at the United Nations
General Assembly and Clinton
Global Initiative meetings, held
here every September.
Geralyn Ritter, president of
the Merck Company Foundation, told The Chronicle that
some of that money would be in
the form of cash grants to charities. The company will also explore ways to develop new technology that could cut down on
maternal mortality, such as a
way to store a drug that helps
prevent women from bleeding to
death after childbirth.
In addition, the pledge will
help spread existing technologies, train health-care workers,
and support advocacy work, said
Clinton Meeting Roundup
Jobs, women, and the environment, were among the key
topics discussed at ormer President Bill Clinton’s annual philanthropy event. At one session, Luis Ubiñas, president of
the Ford Foundation, shared
the stage with California Lt.
Gov. Gavin Newsom and Carlos
Slim, the Mexican telecommu-
nications billionaire, for a dis-
cussion on how to spur job cre-
ation in “megacities.”
To attend Mr. Clinton’s gath-
ering, donors and nonprofits
must make a “commitment” to
effect change on a specific issue.
Other commitments included:
; A new partnership among
the Ford, Nike, and Novo Foundation and other donors, to reduce the number of children
who are forced into marriage
before the age of 18. The Elders, a group of world leaders
dedicated to improving human
rights, is leading the effort,
which hopes to raise $3-mil-
lion. About half that amount
has been raised thus far.
; A $25-million pledge to the
nonprofit group PATH, with the
goal of improving women’s and
children’s health. The money
comes from BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities, the
nonprofit arm of BHP Billiton,
an Australian gas and mining
; A new three-year effort by
the Western Union Foundation
to boost job creation in sub-Sa-haran Africa. The grant maker
will contribute $1.5-million in
the first year and provide management assistance, business
training, and other aid to small
and mid-sized businesses in the
Deduction Rewards Donors’
‘Sacrifi ces,’ Says Expert
ties that help the poor would
fall only slightly.
Continued from Page 21
As policy makers decide what
to do with the deduction, they
will look not just at the impact
on charities but also on federal coffers. After all, every dollar that a donor receives in tax
breaks is a dollar less for the
Some economists want to
know whether tax incentives
encourage people to give more
to charity than the government
loses in tax revenue.
If not, one could argue that it
would be cheaper for the federal
government to provide the services itself—or to scrap the deduction and give the extra tax
revenue directly to charities.
But some analysts warn
against giving too much weight
to the idea that government
should provide those services.
Even if that were cheaper, they
say, it might not perform them
And in the case of some charities, like houses of worship, government can play no role at all.
What’s more, some economists
argue, tax incentives for giving
should not be viewed simply in
fi nancial terms.
While researchers scramble
in coming months to advise policy makers, one thing is clear:
The polarization in Washington
will continue to make the debate over the charitable deduction an emotional one.
Soon after Mr. Obama came
out with his latest effort, Rep.
Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, called the idea a “tax
on soup kitchens” and vowed to
Two days later, Melody
Barnes, a White House aide,
wrote on a blog item saying that
nonprofits, along with other
employers, would benefit from
the jobs bill—but that somebody
has to pay for it. “All Americans will have to pitch in,” she