Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, one of the state's most powerful Democrats over the past two decades, was convicted Monday of using his position to collect $4 million in kickbacks. The conviction of Silver, a power broker hitherto known for his ability to shrug off potential scandals, could spur further crackdowns on political corruption in New York. "The bell could not be ringing louder for real reform in Albany," said Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky.
Donald Trump routinely performs markedly worse in live, telephone polling than he does in online polling -- but until people start casting votes, there will be no way to judge which format is more accurate, writes Harry Enten.
The State of the Union address is a constitutionally mandated duty, but the details -- even down to whether to give a speech or simply send a letter -- are left to the individual leader to decide. Still, shifts in form and timing may not make much difference: Data show Americans are paying less attention to the address than ever before.
The Clinton Global Initiative, Pencils of Promise and other nonprofits have been using virtual reality technology to connect with existing and potential donors at fundraising events. Charities can engage donors by showing films of their projects. "For us to be their first virtual-reality experience—in a moving, true, redemptive story about a 13-year-old girl who gets her life changed over six days because of the generosity of donors—is a big win for the organization," said Scott Harrison, founder of Charity: Water.
Snapchat is partnering with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to raise money for nonprofit group (RED) in honor of World AIDS Day, Dec. 1. Every time a Snapchat user deploys a special AIDS Day geofilter, the foundation will donate $3 to (RED), up to a total of $3 million.
The Better Business Bureau has launched an accreditation program for nonprofits based on 20 standards, including transparency and governance. Accreditation under the program, which was developed by the nonprofit's BBB Wise Giving Alliance, is voluntary and free. BBB's Miguel Segura noted that it can be time-consuming, especially for small organizations.
The Lilly Endowment will distribute $100 million in grants to 14 arts and cultural groups in Indiana. Each nonprofit will receive between $5 million and $10 million from the organization. "We realized one of the best things we can do is to help them think about long-term financial sustainability, not just fund a capital project or a new initiative," said Communications Director Judith Cebula.
OneHope, which bottles its wines in partnership with the Napa, Calif.-based Mondavi family vineyard, donates half its profits from sales to nonprofit organizations. Co-founder Jake Kloberdanz states the unique partial profit, partial charitable setup creates a sustainable business model that allows it to expand while being socially responsible.
President Barack Obama gave a feisty speech to world leaders as the Paris climate talks got underway, urging the assembled politicians and climate experts to step up and craft a viable long-term strategy for addressing the climate crisis. "I've come here personally as the leader of the world's largest economy and the second-largest emitter to say that the United States not only recognizes our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it," Obama said.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie picked up the crucial endorsement of the New Hampshire Union Leader on Sunday, breathing new life into his flagging campaign. The endorsement is a vindication of Christie's energetic campaign to win the backing of newspapers and GOP officials in the Granite State. "The Union Leader is the endorsement any Republican wants," says GOP activist Steve Duprey. "I think it particularly helps in this year when the field is so crowded."
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