Thursday, September 10, 2020

Boston Celtics and Celtics Shamrock Foundation Commit $25 million for Racial Justice Initiatives

Organizations making pledges and commitments for social causes continue to be in the news. The latest to jump in: the Boston Celtics and Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation have announced that the two organizations are making a ten-year, $25 million commitment to address racial injustice and inequities in the greater Boston area.

This commitment is itself part of a larger effort announced by the National Basketball Association in August. The Celtics' initiative will be termed The Boston Celtics United for Social Justice. According to today's Philanthropy News Digest, the initiative

includes $20 million in cash and $5 million in media and in-kind assets in support of both the NBA's efforts and local programs, with a focus on six areas identified by the organization in discussions with community leaders and players: equity in education, economic opportunity and empowerment, equity in health care, criminal justice and law enforcement, breaking down barriers and building bridges between communities, and voting and civic engagement.  

The Digest continues:

Planned projects under the initiative include creating an early-education center for low-income families; providing pro bono services to minority-owned businesses; assisting juvenile offenders through workforce development and academic completion opportunities; expanding The Playbook Initiative, the team's bias-prevention curriculum; and promoting voter registration and the importance of voting.

In discussing the initiative, Celtics forward, Jaylen Brown, stated, "Our goal is to have a direct impact now. We don't need to pacify the situation with empty gestures. We need to hold ourselves, the Celtics organization, and the City of Boston accountable. Monetary commitment is a great first step, but we need to commit to this process by creating a balance of short- and long-term change. The time is now."

I fervently agree.

Vaughn E. James 

September 10, 2020 in Current Affairs, In the News, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Bank of America Announces $300 Million of $1 Billion Equity Pledge

Today's Philanthropy News Digest is reporting that as part of a four-year, $1 billion pledge announced in June to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, Bank of America has announced commitments totaling $300 million.

The commitments include support for initiatives across ninety-one U.S. and global markets in four areas: $25 million for jobs initiatives in Black and Latinx communities, $25 million in support of community outreach and initiatives, $50 million for direct equity investments to minority depository institutions (MDIs), and $200 million in proprietary equity investments in minority entrepreneurs, businesses, and funds.

According to the Digest,

The $25 million for jobs initiatives will support up-skilling and reskilling programs for African-American and Latinx students through partnerships with eleven community colleges and ten public historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs). Recipients include North Carolina A&T State University, Atlanta Technical College, Dallas College-El Centro Campus, and Arizona State University -- Downtown Phoenix. The $25 million in support of community outreach initiatives includes funding to address needs and provide personal protective equipment in underserved and minority communities disproportionately impacted by the current COVID-19 public health emergency. The $50 million for direct equity investments in MDIs -- which includes awards of capital to First Independence Corporation in Detroit, Liberty Financial Services, Inc. in New Orleans, and SCCB Financial Corp. (parent company of Optus Bank) in Columbia, South Carolina -- will provide support for small business lending, housing creation, neighborhood revitalization, and other banking activities. Details of the $200 million proprietary equity investments will be announced at a later date.  

According to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, "These initial investments will address access to jobs and support for small businesses by creating more pathways to employment in communities of color and more support for minority entrepreneurs."

 

Vaughn E. James 

 

 

 

September 9, 2020 in Current Affairs, In the News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 4, 2020

On This Date in Nonprofit Law History: Court Prohibits Hershey School from Selling Hershey Stock

image from bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.comOn September 4, 2002, the Pennsylvania Orphan's Court issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the sale of some of the investments of Hershey School. Hershey School was founded 110 years ago by Milton and Catherine Hershey of Hershey Chocolate fame with a $60 Million trust. The endowment currently stands in excess of $12 Billion. The school provides free education and room and board to children of low-income families; the average family income of children enrolled at the school is $21,000.

As of 2002, the vast majority of the School's endowment was invested in stock in Hershey foods. In fact, the school controlled 77% of the food conglomerate's shares. In the interest of diversifying the investment, the board of directors of the School sought to sell a large portion of its stock in the Hershey Foods. The Pennsylvania Attorney General filed suit, seeking to stop the sale, pointing to "adverse economic and social impact against the public interest if a sale of Hershey Foods Corporation takes place, particularly in its effect on employees of the Corporation and the community of Derry Township."

On September 4, 2002, a judge enjoined the sale. The judge rejected the School's interest in diversifying its assets, concluding that the School did not have any legal obligation to diversify assets. The judge further rejected the School's argument that delay of the sale would cause significant harm. Finding that the Attorney General's asserted harm was significant, and the School did not justify a need for the sale, the sale should not take place while litigation proceeded.

The School filed an appeal, but in vain. The Commonwealth Court left the injunction in place, reasoning:

The Trust argues that the Attorney General has no authority to prevent an otherwise lawful disposition of trust assets under the guise of protecting the public. This underlying legal issue, while important, is not the focus of our review. Rather we must review the record to determine whether the trial court had the "apparently reasonable grounds" required to support its decision. A review of the record and Judge Morgan's opinion does not immediately convince us no apparently reasonable grounds exist to support the order as one that restores the status quo, prevents the immediate and irreparable harm that would result if the Trust proceeded with a sale of its controlling interest in Hershey Foods before the issues raised by the parties are resolved, and prevents a greater injury than what might result if the injunction were denied.

The sale did not go through, and the trustees of the School were removed. Evelyn Brody’s article covers this case and its implications in depth. As Professor Brody notes, local leaders were outraged with the sale, but thrilled with the Attorney General’s intervention. Among the best quotes from community leaders:

"I don't see why a town should be ruined so underprivileged kids can be privileged."

"Our cash cow is safe; we're feeling really great… But there's still a lot of interest in getting rid of the Hershey trustees for ever trying this in the first place."

-Joe Mead

 

September 4, 2020 in State – Judicial | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, September 3, 2020

ACLU's David Cole: The NRA has a Right to Exist

In response to the New York Attorney General's suit seeking dissolution against the National Rifle Association, David Cole (Legal Director, ACLU) penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed (paywall) entitled "NRA has a Right to Exist." At Volokh Conspiracy, Jonathan Adler (Case Western Reserve) agrees: "Cole is correct. If specific NRA officials have abused their positions they should be removed. If they committed crimes, they should be prosecuted. But the ability of the NRA's members to associate and pursue their political priorities should not be impaired due to the malfeasance of NRA officials."

September 3, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)