PtP in the News: WINGS Philanthropy in Focus Blog Highlights PtP

A new article by Project Director Lester Salamon published on the WINGS Philanthropy in Focus blog introduces a promising new route to creating endowed charitable foundations through the process we have termed “Philanthropication thru Privatization,” or PtP for short. This process involves capturing for charitable endowments the proceeds of a host of non-traditional transactions under way around the world. These transactions involve assets that are “invisible in plain sight:” they are in the ground in the form of mineral deposits, in the air in the form of broadband spectrum auctions, in foreign banks in the form of stolen assets, and in legal cases imposing penalties for corporate misdeeds. The PtP Project has already identified well over 600 foundations around the world that have gained endowments from such transactions. This brief piece provides a concise overview of the PtP initiative, introduces the asset classes to which this concept has already been applied, and provides examples of the resulting foundations. We are actively involved in promoting the implementation of this concept in locales across the world and would be eager to learn of possibilities in other areas. Please contact us. Please feel free to share this article with those in your...

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The PtP Beat Goes On: Another Newly-Discovered Major PtP Foundation

As we recently reported, our list of PtP foundations continues to grow. Today, we are pleased to introduce you to our latest discovery: the roughly US$1 billion Truth Initiative (formerly the American Legacy Foundation) created in 1998 out of the same Master Settlement Agreement that brought an end to the litigation brought by a large collection of American states against the manufacturers of cigarettes. Renamed the Truth Initiative in 2014, this PtP foundation grew out of the recognition that the US$246 billion in tobacco settlement funds would largely be absorbed into state treatment programs—leaving little for the preventative programs desperately needed to avoid additional nicotine addictions, especially among youth. The signatories to the agreement thus turned to the vehicle of an endowed charitable foundation as the best channel to promote the “comprehensive, coordinated program of public education and study” that it felt to be “important to further the remedial goals” of the tobacco agreement. The result is “America’s largest nonprofit public health organization committed to making tobacco use a thing of the past.” Thanks in important part to this PtP foundation’s efforts, youth smoking rates in the U.S. have dropped from 23% in 2000 to under 4% today. Recognition...

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The PtP Beat Goes On: Number of PtP Foundations & Amount of Assets Continues to Grow

635 PtP foundations, $200 billion in assets, and counting We are pleased to let you know that the number of identified PtP foundations around the world has continued to expand, as has the amount of assets these foundations control. During the past year, an additional 100 PtP foundations have come to light, representing $65 billion in assets and a nearly 20% jump in the identified number of foundations. Included here are: The Renova Foundation in Brazil, a US$7 billion foundation that got its assets from a penalty arising from an environmental disaster; The enormous US$25 billion “la Caixa” Foundation in Spain, created from the assets of a pre-existing cooperative savings bank that underwent a transformation into a for-profit company along with a network of similar Spanish savings banks in 2014; The US$1.2 billion Lumina Foundation in the United States, established with the assets resulting from the conversion of a nonprofit student loan guarantee organization into a for-profit business in 2000; The US$3.2 billion Mother Cabrini Health Foundation in the United States, established with the assets resulting from the sale of a nonprofit hospital by a for-profit hospital chain in 2018; and The Voqal Foundation, which was the recipient of...

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PtP Highlighted at Recent World Bank Spring Meeting Session on Combatting Corruption

At the recent the World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, DC, Project Director Lester Salamon had an opportunity to introduce PtP’s potential for encouraging citizen involvement in anti-corruption efforts—a point which was highlighted as one of the “6 Takeaways From the World Bank Spring Meetings,” as excerpted below. By Sophie Edwards // 19 April 2018   WASHINGTON — Representatives from the World Bank, business, technology companies, media, and law enforcement discussed ways in which they can work together to combat corruption during the Spring Meetings….   Wednesday’s session brought together a diverse range of actors from government, the private sector, media, and academia to discuss new ways and challenges to ending corruption.     6. New models for spending seized assets “Citizens will not get serious about working on corruption unless they see a better result coming from the capture of corrupt assets than they are seeing now,” according to Lester Salamon, director of the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University. “Currently, these assets are put back into government agencies and flow back into corruption,”...

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The PtP Beat Goes On: A New Cache of PtP Foundations

The recent identification of stolen or stranded assets as another asset class to which the PtP concept can be applied has surfaced a number of new PtP foundations. Already, the PtP Project has issued a case study focusing on one foundation that emerged from this asset class—Kazakhstan’s BOTA Foundation—which came into being out of the confiscated proceeds of a bribe paid to the then-president of this Central Asian country.   Now, however, a new route to the capture of significant resources from illegal activity has come into view: settlements from legal cases in which corporations have been charged with improper, illegal, or negligent behavior.   While such settlements often involve penalty payments to governments, the penalty payments are also often accompanied by settlements in which the offending company agrees to commit resources to help ameliorate a problem similar to one that its behavior helped to perpetuate. Thus, for example, to offset the damage done by the explosion of their Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico and the subsequent leak of millions of barrels of oil into the surrounding ecosystem, oil giant BP and its drilling partner, Transocean, were required to commit US$20.8 billion for reclamation and...

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