Category Archives: Charity

Richest 62 people as wealthy as half of world’s population, says Oxfam

Larry Elliott reports for The Guardian:

The vast and growing gap between rich and poor has been laid bare in a new Oxfam report showing that the 62 richest billionaires own as much wealth as the poorer half of the world’s population.

Timed to coincide with this week’s gathering of many of the super-rich at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, the report calls for urgent action to deal with a trend showing that 1% of people own more wealth than the other 99% combined.

Oxfam said that the wealth of the poorest 50% dropped by 41% between 2010 and 2015, despite an increase in the global population of 400m. In the same period, the wealth of the richest 62 people increased by $500bn (£350bn) to $1.76tn.

The charity said that, in 2010, the 388 richest people owned the same wealth as the poorest 50%. This dropped to 80 in 2014 before falling again in 2015.



The British Legion and the Control of Remembrance

Rod Tweedy writes for Veterans for Peace UK:

With its links to the arms trade, increasingly militarised presentation of Remembrance, and growing commercialisation and corporatisation of the poppy “brand”, it’s time to reconsider whether the Royal British Legion is still suitable to be the “national custodian of Remembrance”.

My Name is Legion: The British Legion and the Control of Remembrance explores how the Royal British Legion’s status as the self-appointed “national custodian of Remembrance” has been compromised through its collaboration with some of the world’s most controversial arms dealers, its increasingly militarised presentation of Remembrance, and its commercialised and trivialising corporatisation of the poppy “brand”.

It draws on the work of a number of journalists, campaign groups, veterans, and religious organisations who have expressed concern at the direction the Legion is taking, and asks whether the charity is still fit to be the “national custodian of Remembrance”.


Doctors Without Borders hospital airstrike looks more and more like a ‘kill mission’

Shaun King reports for New York Daily News:

The image on the left shows the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on June 21, 2015, before the U.S. military bombing. The image on the right shows the facility on October 8, 2015, following the attack. (Photos from report)In early October, a sustained American airstrike destroyed a Doctors Without Borders hospital at their Kunduz Trauma Center in Afghanistan. The attack was catastrophic. On Thursday, Doctors Without Borders, which is perhaps the most respected charity in the world, released their own internal review.

In an interview with the Daily News, the group’s international president Dr. Joanne Liu recounted the sheer devastation and horror of what took place. “Our hospital was razed to the ground. Thirty of our patients and medical staff died. We were forced to leave patients to die on the operating table and others burning in their ICU beds,” she told The News. This is as egregious of a human rights violation as it gets. Not only must we have answers, but we also must have consequences for the horror that was visited upon these brave women and men who are doing some of the most important work in the world.

Liu went on to say, “We believe that this attack was conducted with a purpose to kill and destroy. The facts compiled in this review confirm our initial observations: the MSF Trauma Centre was fully functioning as a hospital with 105 patients admitted and surgeries ongoing at the time of the U.S. airstrikes; the MSF rules in the hospital were implemented and respected, including the ‘no weapons’ policy; MSF was in full control of the hospital before and at the time of the airstrikes; there were no armed combatants within the hospital compound and there was no fighting from or in the direct vicinity of the trauma center before the airstrikes.”


Perpetual wars taking heavy toll on once-protected hospitals

John Zarocostas reports for McClatchy:

[…] On Saturday [31 October], U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, after meeting with the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, issued a denunciation of what he called “the brazen and brutal erosion of respect for international humanitarian law.”

“These violations have become so routine there is a risk people will think that the deliberate bombing of civilians, the targeting of humanitarian and healthcare workers, and attacks on schools, hospitals and places of worship are an inevitable result of conflict,” he said.

He called for action to be taken against those responsible, and Maurer provided a laundry list of such violations had taken place – “Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere.”

“International humanitarian law is being flouted on a global scale,” Ban said. “The international community is failing to hold perpetrators to account.”

Mauer, too, was grim: “Attacks on health facilities, health workers, ambulances, is now a reality that we observe on the ground not on a monthly, but on a daily or weekly scale in most of the conflicts in which we are engaged,” he said.


Africa and Weaponization of Charity: Interview with Alex Perry

Afshin Rattansi talks to journalist and author Alex Perry about his new book, The Rift: A New Africa Breaks Free. They discuss how China’s business approach to Africa is helping it to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world. They also talk about how the business of aid fronted by celebrities have damaged the continent. (Going Underground)

U.S. Military Used Christian NGO as Front for North Korea Espionage

Matthew Cole reports for The Intercept:

HISG_NGO-graphicOn May 10, 2007, in the East Room of the White House, President George W. Bush presided over a ceremony honoring the nation’s most accomplished community service leaders. Among those collecting a President’s Volunteer Service Award that afternoon was Kay Hiramine, the Colorado-based founder of a multimillion-dollar humanitarian organization.

Hiramine’s NGO, Humanitarian International Services Group, or HISG, won special praise from the president for having demonstrated how a private charity could step in quickly in response to a crisis. “In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,” read Hiramine’s citation, “HISG’s team launched a private sector operation center in Houston that mobilized over 1,500 volunteers into the disaster zone within one month after the hurricane.”

But as the evangelical Christian Hiramine crossed the stage to shake hands with President Bush and receive his award, he was hiding a key fact from those in attendance: He was a Pentagon spy whose NGO was funded through a highly classified Defense Department program.

The secret Pentagon program, which dates back to December 2004, continued well into the Obama presidency. It was the brainchild of a senior Defense Department intelligence official of the Bush administration, Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin. Boykin, an evangelical Christian who ran into criticism in 2003 for his statements about Islam, settled on the ruse of the NGO as he was seeking new and unorthodox ways to penetrate North Korea.


Human rights groups face global crackdown ‘not seen in a generation’

Harriet Sherwood reports for The Guardian:

[…] The causes of increasing restrictions are complex, say organisations that monitor civil society activity, but broadly fall into three categories.

First is the shift in political power away from the west, the main source of funding for domestic civil society groups and the base for most big international NGOs. At the end of the cold war, the US and other western countries stepped in to assist newly democratising countries and burgeoning grassroots organisations.

But, more recently, many governments in the developing and post-communist world have pushed back against what they see as western interference. “This is the end of the post-cold war period in which [the west] felt that liberal democracy and western concepts of human rights were spreading around the world, to a period in which there’s a relativisation of political values and the questioning of a common narrative,” says Carothers.

Second, governments have woken up to the power of civil society – particularly after pro-democracy uprisings in former communist states and the revolutionary wave that swept through the Middle East.

“In most countries where leaders don’t allow a lot of pluralism or democracy, they’ve learned to tame opposition political parties,” Carothers says. “But the deepest fear of repressive governments is that they wake up in the morning, open the shutters of the presidential palace, and look out to find 100,000 citizens in the square saying ‘enough!’. That’s scary and uncontrollable,” particularly, Carothers adds, when coupled with technological skill in harnessing the power of social media to organise and spread messages.

The third cause of the NGO crackdown is the proliferation of counter-terrorism measures – often promoted by the west – that sweep civil society organisations into their embrace, either inadvertently or deliberately. Legitimate measures to curb funding of and money-laundering by terrorist organisations often have a debilitating effect on NGOs.


How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti ­and Built Six Homes

Justin Elliott of ProPublica, and Laura Sullivan of NPR report:

[…] The Red Cross received an outpouring of donations after the quake, nearly half a billion dollars.

The group has publicly celebrated its work. But in fact, the Red Cross has repeatedly failed on the ground in Haiti. Confidential memos, emails from worried top officers, and accounts of a dozen frustrated and disappointed insiders show the charity has broken promises, squandered donations, and made dubious claims of success.

The Red Cross says it has provided homes to more than 130,000 people. But the actual number of permanent homes the group has built in all of Haiti: six.

After the earthquake, Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern unveiled ambitious plans to “develop brand-new communities.” None has ever been built.

Aid organizations from around the world have struggled after the earthquake in Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country. But ProPublica and NPR’s investigation shows that many of the Red Cross’s failings in Haiti are of its own making. They are also part of a larger pattern in which the organization has botched delivery of aid after disasters such as Superstorm Sandy. Despite its difficulties, the Red Cross remains the charity of choice for ordinary Americans and corporations alike after natural disasters.’


Cancer Charities Crackdown: Millions In Donations Spent On Luxury Lifestyles

Want to Help Nepal Recover from the Quake? Cancel its Debt, Says Rights Group

Kanya D’Almeida writes for IPS News:

[…] Questions abound as to how this impoverished nation, ranked 145 out of 187 on the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) – making it one of the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs) – will recover from the disaster, considered the worst in Nepal in over 80 years.

One possible solution has come from the Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of over 75 U.S.-based organisations and 400 faith communities worldwide, which said in a press release Monday that Nepal could qualify for debt relief under the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) new Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCR).

The IMF created the CCR this past February in order to assist poor countries recover from severe natural disasters or health crises by providing grants for debt service relief. Already, the fund has eased some of the financial woes of Ebola-impacted countries by agreeing to cancel nearly 100 million dollars of debt.

Quoting World Bank figures, Jubilee USA said in a statement, “Nepal owes 3.8 billion dollars in debt to foreign lenders and spent 217 million dollars repaying debt in 2013.”

Nepal owes some 1.5 billion dollars each to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, as well as 54 million dollars to the IMF, 133 million dollars to Japan and 101 million dollars to China.’


Arab nations’ donations to Clinton Foundation: Curing world’s ills or currying favor?

Greg Gordon reports for McClatchy:

Four oil-rich Arab nations, all with histories of philanthropy to United Nations and Middle Eastern causes, have donated vastly more money to the Clinton Foundation than they have to most other large private charities involved in the kinds of global work championed by the Clinton family.

Since 2001, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates gave as much as $40 million to the Clinton Foundation. In contrast, six similar non-governmental global charities collected no money from those same four Middle Eastern countries; the International Committee of the Red Cross was given $6.82 million. Since 2001, these global foundations have raised a staggering $40 billion to $50 billion to fund their humanitarian work.

The existence of foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation has been well-documented in the media. What hasn’t been revealed, however, is the disparity in donations by these four nations, all of which have been criticized by the State Department over the years for a spate of issues ranging from the mistreatment of women to stoking ethnic discord in the flammable Middle East.

Moreover, the level of Arab support for the Clinton Foundation, which occurred during the time Hillary Clinton was a U.S. senator, was seeking the Democratic nomination for president against Barack Obama, and was serving as secretary of state, fuels questions about the reasons for the donations. Were they solely to support the foundation’s causes, or were they designed to curry favor with the ex-president and with a potential future president?’


Clinton Foundation accepts funds from foreign governments, Keystone XL group: Interview with Cenk Uygur

The Red Cross CEO Has Been Serially Misleading About Where Donors’ Dollars Are Going

Jesse Eisinger and Justin Elliott of ProPublica, and Laura Sullivan of NPR report:

The Red Cross' "world-class" lie‘The American Red Cross regularly touts how responsible it is with donors’ money. “We’re very proud of the fact that 91 cents of every dollar that’s donated goes to our services,” Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern said in a speech in Baltimore last year. “That’s world class, obviously.”

McGovern has often repeated that figure, which has also appeared on the charity’s website. “I’m really proud” that overhead expenses are so low, she told a Cleveland audience in June.

The problem with that number: It isn’t true.

After inquiries by ProPublica and NPR, the Red Cross removed the statement from its website. The Red Cross said the claim was not “as clear as it could have been, and we are clarifying the language.”

The Red Cross declined repeated requests to say the actual percentage of donor dollars going to humanitarian services.

But the charity’s own financial statements show that overhead expenses are significantly more than what McGovern and other Red Cross officials have claimed.’


Save the Children staff furious over ‘global legacy’ award for Tony Blair

Harriet Sherwood reports for The Guardian:

Tony Blair at the Save the Children Illumination Gala in New York City‘The international charity Save the Children has been engulfed by a furious backlash from staff after it presented Tony Blair with a “global legacy award” in New York last week – despite privately acknowledging that he is a controversial and divisive figure.

Amid widespread criticism on social media, many of the charity’s staff have complained that the presentation of the award has discredited Save the Children (STC). An internal letter, which gathered almost 200 signatures – including senior regional staff – in the first six hours of dissemination, said the award was not only “morally reprehensible, but also endangers our credibility globally”, and called for it to be withdrawn.

It said that staff wished to distance themselves from the award and demanded a review of the charity’s decision-making process.’


How our governments use military charities to evade the real cost of their wars

Sam Walton writes for Ceasefire Magazine:

The names of 600,000 soldiers are engraved in alphabetical order at the The Ring of Memory international memorial, in Notre Dame de Lorette, France. (Credits: AFP)Say one thing about the British public, we will fill collecting tins for armed forces personnel. The Charities Directory lists 276 army, 188 Royal Marines and Navy, 70 RAF and 90 ex-services (military) charities in the UK, and those numbers are growing every year. The Royal British Legion is by far the biggest in terms of income, with over £100m in turnover, and shares the biggest profile with ‘Help for Heroes’. Almost all of these charities have come into existence since 1999, the majority in the past decade.

However, is the government avoiding the full cost of going to war by getting these charities to take care of soldiers after their return? If a fire-fighter, nurse or other government employee was killed or seriously injured in an industrial accident at work, the government would assume responsibility, rehabilitation and care would be provided and compensation would be paid. Surely, if a national decision is made to go to war then care for the people thrust into that war must be something that the government takes responsibility for.

Looking into some of the service personnel relief charities, their relationship to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) certainly raise some questions.’


Brititsh Chancellor Osborne claims businesses must defend free market from unions and charities

Katie Allen reports for The Guardian:

George OsborneGeorge Osborne has urged businesses to raise their heads “above the parapet” and counter what he sees as an anti-free market movement led by trade unions and charities.

Speaking to business leaders at the Institute of Directors’ annual convention, Osborne said principles of enterprise and business as a force for widespread prosperity were “up for grabs” for the first time in his adult life.

Osborne told the audience at London’s Royal Albert Hall: “You have to get out there and put the business argument. Because there are plenty of pressure groups, plenty of trade unions and plenty of charities and the like, that will put the counter view.”‘


How Capitalists Control Mass Movements

Stephanie McMillan writes for CounterPunch:

payumcmill‘We really need to understand the methods used by NGOs to undermine radical political organizing efforts and divert us into political dead ends. The People’s Climate March is a good case study because it’s so blatant.

In South Florida, we saw the exact same process after the BP oil spill. Once the NGOs came in to the organizing meetings and were given the floor, all potential resistance was blocked, strangled, and left for dead. NGOs will descend on any organizing effort and try to take it over, dilute it, and bring it eventually to the Democratic Party. We can also see an identical set-up with the established labor unions and many other organizations.

If organizers are being paid, usually they are trapped in this dynamic, whether or not they want to be. While combining a job with organizing to challenge the system sounds very tempting and full of potential, it’s overwhelmingly not possible. They are two fundamentally incompatible aims, and those funding the job definitely do not have the aim of allowing its employees to undermine the system — the very system that allows the funders to exist, that they feed off of.’


The Lobbying Act: Money Still Buys Influence

From The Morning Star:

Lobbying Act: Condemned by the NUJ‘David Cameron warned before the last general election that lobbying was “the next big scandal waiting to happen.” It was during his concerted offensive to persuade us that the Tory leopard had changed its spots and that decency, fairness and honesty rather than greed and self-interest now dictated its policies. “It’s an issue that crosses party lines and has tainted our politics for too long — an issue that exposes the far too cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money,” he went on.

[…] According to the provisions of the Lobbying Act that came into force yesterday, such easy at-a-price access to ministers poses less of a threat to democracy than the transparent campaigning of trade unions, charities and single-issue groups. Lobbyists for powerful corporate vested interests will be free to enjoy confidential meetings with ministers while people seeking to hold government to account will be frustrated. Trade unions, charities and single-issue campaigns will have unreasonable limits imposed on the amount of finance they can devote to activity during an election period even though the sums they raise are puny in comparison to the funds raised directly by business for the Tories or the wall-to-wall propaganda deployed by pro-Tory media’


America’s Billionaires Political Power Index

Darrell M. West has produced a list of  America’s top billionaires with the most political power  for a upcoming book called Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust. According to the author he “examines the political use of great wealth, including campaign expenditures, activism through nonprofit organizations and foundations, holding public office, media ownership, policy thought leadership, and behind the scenes influence.” You can learn more about it by clicking on the image below:

Tony Blair Faith Foundation ‘assessed’ by charity watchdog after concerns raised about former PM’s influence

Lizzie Dearden reports for The Independent:

‘A charity watchdog will meet with representatives from the Tony Blair Faith Foundation after a former employee claimed the ex-Prime Minister uses it as a “think-tank” for his private office.

The Charity Commission said it was “assessing” the concerns raised and will publish a report but has not started an official investigation or identified any “regulatory issues”.’


Arundhati Roy: How Corporate Power Converted Wealth Into Philanthropy for Social Control

AlterNet recently republished an excerpt from Arundhati Roy’s new book, Capitalism: A Ghost Story:

‘What follows in this essay might appear to some to be a somewhat harsh critique. On the other hand, in the tradition of honoring one’s adversaries, it could be read as an acknowledgment of the vision, flexibility, sophistication, and unwavering determination of those who have dedicated their lives to keeping the world safe for capitalism.

Their enthralling history, which has faded from contemporary memory, began in the United States in the early twentieth century when, kitted out legally in the form of endowed foundations, corporate philanthropy began to replace missionary activity as Capitalism’s (and Imperialism’s) road-opening and systems maintenance patrol.

Among the first foundations to be set up in the United States were the Carnegie Corporation, endowed in 1911 by profits from Carnegie Steel Company, and the Rockefeller Foundation, endowed in 1914 by J. D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil Company. The Tatas and Ambanis of their time.’


Disbelief as Tony Blair is handed ‘jaw-dropping’ philanthropist of the year title at GQ awards ceremony

Tamara Cohen and Jim Norton report for The Daily Mail:

‘Tony Blair was last night improbably named philanthropist of the year by a leading magazine. The former prime minister was handed the award to a ‘muted’ response at a celebrity-packed gathering in central London. It was in recognition of his ‘philanthropy, establishing three charities’.

GQ magazine’s decision drew immediate criticism, with Labour MP John Mann saying last night: ‘It sends the wrong message. This sort of award should go to an unsung hero who has given up their time for charity.’ Tory MP Charlie Elphicke pointed out that Mr Blair has advised Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, including on how to improve his image after his police killed 14 unarmed protesters. He said: ‘It is jaw dropping that he should be given this award given his involvement in spinning the alleged brutal massacre in Kazakhstan.’


How the Gates Foundation’s Investments Are Undermining Its Own Good Works

Charles Piller writes for The Nation:

‘[…] For all its generosity and thoughtfulness, the Gates Foundation’s management of its $40 billion endowment has been a puzzling ethical blind spot. In 2007, with colleagues at the Los Angeles Times, I examined whether those investments tended generally to support the foundation’s philanthropic goals. Instead, we found that it reaped vast profits by placing billions of dollars in firms whose activities and products subverted the foundation’s good works.

For example, Gates donated $218 million to prevent polio and measles in places like the Niger Delta, yet invested $423 million in the oil companies whose delta pollution literally kills the children the foundation tries to help. It had vast holdings in Big Pharma firms that priced AIDS drugs out of reach for desperate victims the foundation wanted to save. It benefited greatly from predatory lenders whose practices sparked the Great Recession and chocolate makers said by the US government to have supported child slavery in Ivory Coast.

After our investigations were published, the foundation briefly considered changing its policy of blind-eye investing, but ultimately pulled funds only from firms that provided the financial basis for genocide in Darfur. Even in that case, when the glare of adverse publicity faded, the foundation hopped back into such companies, including the Chinese construction giant NORINCO International.’


Attacks on aid workers worldwide hit worst levels on record

Alex Whiting reports for Reuters:

‘The number of attacks on aid workers soared last year to the highest level on record, with Afghanistan the most dangerous country to be a humanitarian, a report on Tuesday said. In all, 155 aid workers were killed, 171 wounded and 134 kidnapped in 2013 – a rise of 66 percent compared with 2012, according to the Humanitarian Outcomes 2014 report, published on World Humanitarian Day.

It said three quarters of the attacks took place in Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Pakistan and Sudan amid worsening violence. There were 81 attacks in Afghanistan alone. The death toll for 2014 shows little sign of abating. Already, 79 humanitarians have been killed this year, including several in Gaza, according to provisional figures… The U.N. General Assembly in 2008 declared Aug. 19 World Humanitarian Day to mark the the day in 2003 when 22 people who were killed in a bomb attack on U.N. offices in Baghdad.’


Red Cross: Russian aid convoy held up at Ukrainian border by lack of security guarantees

Alexander Roslyakov reports for The Associated Press:

‘Hundreds of trucks in a Russian aid convoy waited Saturday near the Ukrainian border as complicated procedures dragged on for allowing them into eastern Ukraine to help civilians suffering amid fighting between Ukrainian forces and separatists.

The main holdup was a lack of security guarantees from all sides in the conflict, said the International Committee of the Red Cross, which would have responsibility for distributing the aid.

Ukrainian officials are concerned that the mission, including around 200 trucks, could be a guise for Russia to send in equipment for the rebels, whom Kiev and Western countries claim are backed by Moscow. But Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement under which the trucks could enter with Red Cross accompaniment if Ukrainian border guards and customs agents approve the cargo.’


USAID exploited fake HIV workshop to incite rebellion in Cuba

‘The US Agency for International Development is under fire after an Associated Press report released Monday revealed the agency used young Latin Americans to infiltrate Cuban society and potentially stir dissent under the guise of a fake HIV-prevention organization. Created to serve as a cover for the would-be CIA agents’ espionage activities, the HIV workshop enabled among other activities the creation of a database of Cubans likely to cause trouble for the Castro regime.’ (RT America)

Canadian tax agency says ‘preventing poverty’ not allowed as goal for charity

The Toronto Star reports:

‘The Canada Revenue Agency has told a well-known charity that it can no longer try to prevent poverty around the world, it can only alleviate poverty — because preventing poverty might benefit people who are not already poor.

The bizarre bureaucratic brawl over a mission statement is yet more evidence of deteriorating relations between the Harper government and some parts of Canada’s charitable sector.’


Cameron’s Big Society in tatters as charity watchdog launches investigation into claims of Government funding misuse

Oliver Wright reports for The Independent:

A marked difference was found between what Big Society Network projects claimed they would achieve and what they did (Getty Images)‘David Cameron’s flagship Big Society Network is being investigated by the Charity Commission over allegations that it misused government funding and made inappropriate payments to its directors – including a Tory donor.  The organisation, which was launched by the Prime Minister in 2010, was given at least £2.5 million of National Lottery funding and public-sector grants despite having no record of charitable activity.

The Independent has learnt that it has now been wound up, having used much of the money on projects that came nowhere near delivering on their promised objectives. Two senior figures on government grant awarding bodies have also made allegations that they were pressured into handing over money to the Big Society Network despite severe reservations about the viability of the projects they were being asked to support.’


Lonely Britain: Tens of thousands of elderly men and women are left home and alone

Editor’s Note: The author of this piece is cycling from London to Paris to raise money for Contact the Elderly. You can learn more and make a donation here.

Paul Gallagher writes for The Independent:

‘Tens of thousands of elderly men and women are trapped in “loneliness hot spots” around the country as a leading charity warns social isolation for the most vulnerable in society has reached a state of emergency. Trevor Lyttleton, chairman of Contact the Elderly, said the number of lonely pensioners aged 75 or older was at its worst more than any time in the almost 50 years since he founded the charity. Some go whole weeks without any human contact, and more than 1,200 people are on the waiting list to join the charity’s monthly tea parties that are a lifeline for many.

…Mr Lyttleton said: “Loneliness among older people has reached a state of emergency and must not be ignored. My mantra is, if not now, when? For almost 50 years, we have been focusing on providing a cost-effective solution, yet the demand for our service has never been so high. We know our formula of tea and conversation works, but we simply cannot reach out to the people that desperately need our help without increased volunteers and funding.” The warning from Contact the Elderly comes days after the body of a woman in her seventies was found in her Bournemouth flat, where it had remained undiscovered for six years. Anne Leitrim had not been seen since 2008 and neighbours simply assumed she had moved out of the area.’


Walmart heirs under fire over ‘phony’ charity

Tim Walker reports for The Independent:

‘They are the richest family in the US, with a combined wealth greater than that of the entire bottom 40 per cent of Americans. Yet a new report has found that the Waltons – heirs to the Walmart megastore fortune – have donated a vanishing proportion of their riches to charity. The report by the activist group Walmart 1 Per Cent, entitled The Phony Philanthropy of the Walmart Heirs, found that the company’s four heirs have given only 0.04 per cent of their $140bn (£83bn) fortune to the Walton Family Foundation. The report compares the Waltons’ donations to those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, who have given away 36.2 and 26.9 per cent of their fortunes respectively, and cites data suggesting that the average US middle-class earner with a salary of between $50,000 and $99,000 contributes 6 per cent of their discretionary income to charity.’