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Expert warns of upcoming threats to democracy across the nation; Judge in Trump documents case rejects suggestions to step aside; NC businesses fear effects of 'bathroom bill'; Report says restaurants allow abuse, disease risk at MD animal farms.

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A congresswoman celebrates Biden protections for mixed status families, Louisiana's Ten Commandments law faces an inevitable legal challenge, and a senator moves to repeal the strict 19th century anti-obscenity and anti-abortion Comstock Act.

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Rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town, prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands and a Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival.

Report: Philanthropy must do more to repair past harms

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Monday, March 4, 2024   

A new report argued many charitable foundations need to examine the origin of their wealth and repair harms done.

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy used publicly available information to examine how historic business fortunes behind some foundations were made. Drawing on historic examples of businesses profiting from systemic racism and discrimination, the report titled "Cracks in the Foundation" stressed the need for philanthropic organizations to do their own research, connect with Black communities, and move charity dollars toward repairs.

Claire Dunning, assistant professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, served on the report's advisory committee and said foundations can seek partnerships including local history centers to help with the process.

"This doesn't have to be a private, or sort of closed-off process," Dunning contended. "It can be one rooted in transparency and inviting people in. And again, that can be uncomfortable. But I would argue that's not an excuse to not begin this important work."

The report presented case studies tracking the economic history of eight foundations in the Washington, D.C., area. The study's authors said they seek to make difficult conversations easier and are presenting the case studies as educational guides for an accountability and healing journey.

In looking at historic harms, the report focused on four sectors: media including anti-Black rhetoric; housing including discrimination, segregation and displacement; employment including stolen labor; and health care including mental and physical harm and neglect. The report assessed harm using both quantitative and qualitative methods. Dunning stressed in looking to the historical record to find evidence of past harm, researchers must take a broad view.

"We need to think about how newspaper accounts or advertisements for a particular neighborhood that talk about restrictive covenants. That's a form of evidence," Dunning pointed out. "We can think about oral histories of people who are displaced from certain neighborhoods or who were denied equal wages in an employment situation, that's a form of evidence."

The Federal government requires private foundations to use their assets to benefit society. Each year they must distribute at least 5% of the market value of their endowment to charitable purposes.


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