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December 12, 2017, Hewlett Foundation Commits $600 Million for Climate Change Efforts. The pledge was announced on the eve of French president Emmanuel Macron's convening of global government, business, and philanthropic sector leaders to discuss private and public financing for global efforts to implement the Paris climate change agreement....


December 12, 2017 Knight Foundation Reports Explore Evolving Role of Public Media

A series of reports commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation explores whether a public media system is still needed and how it might be dismantled, disrupted, or reimagined to inform community in the digital age.A series of reports commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation explores whether a public media system is still needed and how it might be dismantled, disrupted, or reimagined to inform community in the digital age.

Commissioned to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act, which created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the reports explore the evolving role of public media and how it could or should be reimagined to survive and thrive in the twenty-first century. Written by journalists, consultants, and experts at think tanks and in academia, the reports explore opportunities for the public media system to embrace new technologies and engage audiences in new ways.

The reports offer insights in six broad areas: A New Role for Public Media: Local Government Watchdogs (Tim Carney, visiting fellow, American Enterprise Institute); Public Broadcasting: Its Past and Its Future (Sue Gardner, consultant); Is There Any Justification for Continuing to Ask Taxpayers to Fund NPR and PBS? (Mike Gonzalez, senior fellow, Heritage Foundation); F is for Future: How to Think About Public Media's Next 50 Years (Melody Kramer, Wikimedia Foundation and Betsy O'Donovan, Daily Tar Heel); Public Media at 50: What's Next for the Information Commons? (Blair Levin, Brookings Institution); and Topple the Towers: Why Public Radio and Television Stations Should Radically Reorient Toward Digital-First Local News, and How They Could Do It (Adam Ragusea, Mercer University).

"At a time when trust in news is at an all-time low, it is more important than ever that we learn from and build on public media's longtime commitment to journalism excellence and efforts to serve local communities," said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism. "This body of work provides fresh perspectives at a time of rapid disruption and change in the media and information space. "The Future of U.S. Public Media in the Digital Age the Focus of New Report Series." John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Press Release 12/07/2017.Subjects: journalism / media; public affairs People: Adam Ragusea; Betsy O'donovan; Blair Levin; Jennifer Preston; Melody Kramer; Mike Gonzalez; Sue Gardner; Tim carney Organization: American enterprise institute; Brookings institution; daily tar heel; heritage foundation; john s. and James l. knight foundation; Mercer university; Wikimedia foundation Location: National.

December 5, 2017, Columbia University Medical School Receives $250 Million

Columbia University has announced a gift of $250 million from alumni P. Roy and Diana Vagelos in support of its College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The gift includes $150 million for an endowment in support of full-tuition scholarships for medical students who qualify for financial aid — currently about half the students enrolled in the school — with the aim of ultimately eliminating medical student debt. About 20 percent of Columbia medical students — those with the greatest need — will receive full-tuition scholarships, while the remaining 30 percent will receive partial scholarships so they do not have to take out loans. Currently, Columbia medical students who qualify for financial aid typically are required to borrow at least $30,000 a year to help pay for their tuition.

The remaining $100 million will fund precision medicine programs and basic science research at the school and endow a professorship in the Department of Medicine in honor of Thomas P. Jacobs, the Vagelos family's longtime doctor and friend. In recognition of the gift, the medical school will be renamed the Columbia University Roy and Diana Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The gift brings to more than $310 million the Vageloses' support for Columbia's medical school, including a $50 million gift in 2010 to fund the design and construction of a medical and graduate education center. After completing his medical degree in 1954, P. Roy Vagelos conducted research at the National Institutes of Health, served as chair of the Department of Biological Chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis, and led Merck & Co. as chair and CEO. Currently chair of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, he chairs the Columbia University Irving Medical Center's board of advisors and co-chairs the university's current capital campaign.

"Roy and Diana Vagelos truly understand that having a scholarship fund of this magnitude puts medical school within reach of the most talented students, regardless of their ability to pay," said Lee Goldman, dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine and chief executive of Columbia University Medical Center. "Within the next five years, the income generated from this endowment will allow us to replace loans with scholarships for students with financial need, thereby allowing them to choose a medical specialty based on their true passion and highest calling, rather than on income potential.""Roy and Diana Vagelos Donate $250 Million to Columbia's Medical School." Columbia University Press Release 11/05/2017.