Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Cincy | How employees got $90K for a non-profit

In political campaign financing, it's called bundling contributions. For a group of Gannett employees, it was a smart strategy to leverage small contributions in return for a big Gannett Foundation donation last year to the Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts.

Newly released public documents show the foundation matched $90,035 of a total 280 gifts made by employees to the Cincinnati organization. It was the single-biggest gift the foundation made to non-profit groups under the popular GannettMatch program. No other non-profit received so many individual employee gifts in 2009 or in 2008, the documents show.

Under the GannettMatch program, the foundation matches dollar-for-dollar employee donations of $50 to a maximum $10,000 per year to non-profits. In 2009, the foundation matched a combined $1.39 million of employee contributions.

In Cincinnati, it appears someone organized employees to make the 280 separate contributions, with an eye toward applying for the 100% match. The city is home to The Cincinnati Enquirer, which has perhaps 700 employees.

The documents, which comprise the foundation's annual 2009 IRS report, disclose dollar amounts and recipients under GannettMatch; they do not disclose names of individual employees, however.


  1. Generous employees indeed but what is your point?

  2. That's roughly $332 per donor. To one organization. It sounds a bit fishy to me knowing what you have to do paperwork wise for the match. BTW, I got a letter this past weekend saying that as of Jan 1, you can no longer use the paper Gannett Match forms. You'll have to use their website.

  3. Don't know if Enquirer is still doing this, as I no longer work there. Used to be that employees could "buy" a day or week off by donating to the Fine Arts Fund which the publisher chaired at least one year. For $50 you got a day off and a charitable tax deducution. Some people bought a whole week off, can't remember the price, but in any case the co. ate the cost of paying for your non-work day.

  4. Also, GMTI has offices in Cincinnati. I'm not sure how many employees they have there.

  5. OC, other top managers asked to donate amounts more befitting their incomes to the Fine Arts Fund, they and all other employees incentivized to do so. The year Buchanan Chaired it was particularly interesting. She's listed at the Leadership Club member level ($1,500 - $2,499) for 2010.


  6. wonder what Hunke's role is in this dating back to his cincy era

  7. The GMTI office in Cincinnati is very small now since most have either quit or have gotten laid off. There is very little connection between them and The Enquirer despite both being owned by Gannett and the respective offices being next door to each other.

  8. Coincidentally, the marketing director of the Fine Arts Fund in 2008 and 2009 (no longer employed there, btw) is also a former Enquirer Director.


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.