In the News

At the top end, philanthropy is a disproportionate business. The largest funders, the big foundations, the massive fortunes and their grant officers enjoy a position of power over nonprofits and social entrepreneurs that’s similar – if not more dominant – to the venture capital and startup equation. And while that’s not likely to change any time soon, one new player on the U.S. philanthropy scene is aiming to level the playing field just a bit, with reporting on how foundations give their money away – and ratings on how well (or poorly) they do so.

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More than 1,000 people took to the streets of downtown Detroit to protest against the city’s ongoing water shutoff initiative, while a number of civil rights organizations formally called for a moratorium on the practice.

As Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and his appointed “emergency manager” were steering Detroit into bankruptcy last fall, the public-policy think tank Demos released a groundbreaking report on the city’s financial circumstance—and how to address it.

President Barack Obama recently defied Republican threats to file suit against him for his use of executive orders. "If House Republicans are really concerned about me taking too many executive actions, the best solution to that is passing bills," the president said. "Pass a bill, solve a problem."

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In pledging $50-million to strengthen America’s "flailing democracy," the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has stirred criticism among liberal groups that in doing so it has jettisoned some of its core values.

In its three-year "Madison Initiative," named after James Madison, an American founder who warned against the "mischiefs of faction," the foundation says it will support groups looking to make adjustments to the legislative process so Congress can perform its basic tasks like passing annual spending bills, says Daniel Stid, who will lead the effort for Hewlett.

After popularizing luxury groceries for the well-off, Whole Foods is trying to take the concept to the masses. But amid growing inequality and a sluggish recovery, those masses have gone missing.

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Voter ID laws are back in the news this week after a group of college students joined a lawsuit challenging North Carolina's new restrictive rules.

Last week Maria Shriver posted a tribute to California's groundbreaking, decade-old paid family leave. In her Huffington Post column, she wrote:

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Last month, IndexCreditCards.com asked, "Are you embarrassed by your credit card balances and credit score? " The question was prompted by a survey from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling that found three times more consumers being ashamed of their card balances than their weight. 

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DALY: Our mismeasured economy. "Today's polarized debates about the role of government often boil down to a single issue: the size of government compared with the size of the overall economy, as measured in gross domestic product....But such comparisons are not very meaningful: The way we measure government’s role in the economy is limited, inaccurate and unrealistic....We make the case that, in at least four critical ways, this G.D.P.