United Nations General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa this week launched a campaign to eliminate plastic pollution from the world's oceans, including a plan to eliminate single-use plastics from UN offices. "I intend to leverage the capacity of the office of the president of the General Assembly to support ongoing global campaigns to beat plastic pollution," Espinosa says.
United Nations envoy Horst Koehler is hosting renewed peace talks between leaders from Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco and the Polisario Front today and tomorrow. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged all parties to approach the negotiations constructively and in good faith.
The Satanic Temple of Chicago gave the Illinois State Capitol a sculpture that depicts a snake wrapped around an arm holding an apple, which is displayed in the building's rotunda along with a Nativity scene and a menorah. The temple said it wants to keep one religion from controlling the holiday season, and a sign in the rotunda explains that the First Amendment prohibits the state from censoring displays in the public space.
The Apollo Theater in New York City is raising funds to launch a new center in 2020 that will serve as an incubator for emerging artists, with a focus on minorities and other diverse groups. "It continues to solidify the Apollo Theater as a vital civic and economic cornerstone of Harlem," says Apollo Theater Foundation CEO and President Jonelle Procope.
The Sesame Workshop has received a $100 million grant from the LEGO Foundation that will be disbursed over five years to provide new learning opportunities and support services to refugee children, such as the Rohingya, in partnership with the International Rescue Committee and BRAC, a Bangladeshi relief organization. "Children in humanitarian settings are not getting the stimulation, growth, support, and play-based learning that we feel they really need," Sarah Bouchie of LEGO says.
The "Pennies for Charity" report released last week by the New York state Attorney General's office is based on four erroneous assumptions that interfere with its usefulness as a resource for potential donors, including the idea that spending on fundraising should always be minimal, writes BoardSource CEO Anne Wallestad. Although transparency is generally desirable, the report's efforts are "incomplete or lacking the context needed to meaningfully interpret the data," Wallestad writes.
Nonprofits in Southeast Michigan need more dedicated board members from corporate backgrounds that can strengthen the sector by focusing on sustainability, growth and CEO succession planning, writes Gary Dembs, founder and principal of the Non-Profit Personnel Network. "Collectively, the nonprofit sector needs to do a better job of convening board members from various organizations much more regularly," he writes.
VSA Minnesota, a nonprofit that has been offering arts programming to people with disabilities for more than 30 years, will shutter its doors in 2019, citing ongoing financial challenges. "There's just been a steady stream of little losses that piled up to get us to this point," says Executive Director Craig Dunn.
Funding opportunities that carry awkward stipulations or don't align with a nonprofit's mission should be rejected, but doing so can be tricky for nonprofit board members and staff, AHRC New York City CEO Amy West writes. A gift-acceptance policy, she writes, manages donor expectations and protects a nonprofit's reputation while defining its exact funding needs.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has unveiled grants totaling $37 million for 22 arts nonprofits in Miami as part of its biannual Knight Arts Challenge. "The latest $37 million says we're delighted with the impact and are shifting focus more toward the middle-level arts organizations and with a much greater emphasis on the creation of art in the city," says Alberto Ibarguen, the foundation's president.