Sunday, November 30, 2008

Other noteworthy grants directed by top execs

Following are some of the other $320,000 in Gannett Foundation direct grants given in 2007, on the recommendation of 16 current and former company executives. Each executive directed a total $20,000 to charities of their own choosing.

Gracia Martore
Gannett's chief financial officer, a major architect of the current round of layoffs, directed $15,000 to her alma mater, Wellesley College near Boston. Gannett doesn't own any papers or TV stations in Massachusetts.

In the GannettMatch section of the return, I noticed the foundation gave an additional $15,000 to Wellesley, in the form of an employee matching grant. The return does not identify the employee; it's possible that it is Martore. In any case, the 2007 money brings to at least $60,000 the total direct foundation grants to Wellesley since 2004.

Also at Martore's request, the foundation gave $2,500 to the exclusive Potomac School in McLean, Va., home to Gannett's headquarters. The K-12 school's tuition starts at $24,340 a year for kindergarten, and tops out at $27,445 for grades 9-12.

Craig Moon
USA Today's publisher recommended two $10,000 grants. One went to Young Life Williamson County in Tennesseee; the other, to the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Willamson County. (Moon was publisher of The Tennessean in Nashville before USAT.)

The foundation gave $30,000 to Young Life in 2004-2006. The group's website says: "Whatever the setting, every Young Life gathering or event is intended to give kids the chance to experience God's love and to consider the relevance of Jesus Christ for their lives."

The foundation's guidelines for regular employees and the general public prohibit gifts to "programs or initiatives where the primary purpose is the promotion of religious doctrine or tenets."

Doug McCorkindale
The retired chairman and CEO once more favored charities that included Columbia College, his alma mater; it got $3,000. The foundation gave $16,000 to Columbia scholarship funds in 2004-2006, including one named for McCorkindale. He retired in 2006.

John Curley
The foundation gave the entire $20,000 to Pennsylvania State University, where the retired Gannett chairman and CEO now teaches journalism. That brings to $80,000 the total direct grants Curley has directed to Penn State since 2004. He retired in 2001.

Dave Lougee
The foundation made two $10,000 gifts on the TV division president's recommendation. One went to Futures for Children in Albuquerque, N.M. The second went to Project Vote Smart in Philipsburg, N.M.

Larry Miller
The retired chief financial officer's recommendations included $5,000 for Gospel Volunteers/Camp of the Woods in Speculator, N.Y., a "Christian family resort and conference center" in the Adirondacks. Miller left GCI in 2003, says, after Gannett agreed to pay him $600,000 a year for life, an item buried in Gannett’s proxy report to shareholders.

On its website, the group says: "The mission of Gospel Volunteers Inc. is to present the Biblical truths of Jesus Christ, develop Christian leaders, strengthen the faith of individuals and families, and promote global evangelism.'' Noted: the list of summer 2009 speakers.

Earlier: How to examine a non-profit's tax returns

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