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Posts Tagged ‘Families’

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According to a recent report on publicly announced giving compiled by The Chronicle of Philanthropy – an organization that publishes news and resources on philanthropy – there were twelve donations given by wealthy donors that surpassed $100 million, plus another six that totaled $100 million exactly.

The two largest donations – for $500 million each – came from Nike cofounder Phil Knight and his wife Penny, and investor-philanthropist Nicolas Beggruen.

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Phil Knight~

Knight, a billionaire whose net worth Forbes estimates at $24.9 billion (making him the 18th wealthiest person in the United States), made his high-value gift to the University of Oregon – his alma mater – to establish there a new center for scientific research. Berggruen, with an estimate worth of $1.73 billion, donated to his own public policy think-tank, the Berggruen Institute.

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Nicolas Berggruen~

The second most valuable donation, a $400 million pledge, was also made by Mr. and Mrs. Knight. This trove of charity went to Stanford University to establish the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program, which provides education to 100 graduate high achieving students every year.

Also providing a $400 million gift to a good cause was physician Howard Marcus and wife Lottie, an investor, who directed their money in the form of a bequest to American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev for endowment and water research. The donation was the largest ever to an Israeli university.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a large charitable impact, The billionaire’s philanthropic organization gave $360 million to handful of organizations and an additional $300 million donation to The Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, to establish the Bloomberg American Health Initiative.

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Steven Cohen and wife Alexandra pledged $275 million last year to start the Cohen Veterans Network to provide mental-health services to former service members and their families. Cohen, whose net worth FORBES estimates at $13 billion, built his wealth in hedge funds.

Facebook founding president, Sean Parker, makes an appearance on the list of top donors of 2016, with a $250 million gift to establish the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

Oracle founder, Larry Ellison, made the list as well, pledging $200 million to the University of Southern California, to establish the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine.

Legendary investor and Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger pledged $200 million to the University of California at Santa Barbara, for new student housing.

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Sanford Weill, chairman emeritus of Citigroup, and his wife, Joan, donated $185 million to the University of California at San Francisco, to start the Weill Institute for Neurosciences.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg donated $107.2 million to the Fidelity Charitable, for the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Fund.

Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen pledged $100 million to establish the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group.

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Billionaire Phillip Frost, a physician and pharmaceutical company executive, and his wife, Patricia, pledged $100 million to the University of Miami, to support applied sciences and engineering.

David Geffen, a cofounder of DreamWorks Studios SKG and founder of Geffen Records, pledged $100 million to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, to renovate and expand the museum.

Netflix founder, Reed Hastings, gave $100 million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, to establish the Hastings Fund.

Robert King, founder of Peninsula Capital, and his wife, Dorothy, pledged $100 million to Stanford University, for scholarships for students from underdeveloped countries.

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Mortimer Zuckerman, a cofounder of Boston Properties, a real-estate investment trust, donated $100 million to create the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Scholars Program in STEM Leadership to bolster collaboration between top U.S. and Israeli researchers.

 

By Karsten Strauss

 

Digital Image by Sean Locke
Digital Planet Design
www.digitalplanetdesign.com

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Kids are more successful in school when parents take an active interest in their homework — it shows kids that what they do is important.

Of course, helping with homework shouldn’t mean spending hours hunched over a desk. Parents can be supportive by demonstrating study and organization skills, explaining a tricky problem, or just encouraging kids to take a break. And who knows? Parents might even learn a thing or two!

Here are some tips to guide the way:

1.Know the teachers — and what they’re looking for. Attend school events, such as parent-teacher conferences, to meet your child’s teachers. Ask about their homework policies and how you should be involved.
2. Set up a homework-friendly area. Make sure kids have a well-lit place to complete homework. Keep supplies — paper, pencils, glue, scissors — within reach.
3. Schedule a regular study time. Some kids work best in the afternoon, following a snack and play period; others may prefer to wait until after dinner.
4. Help them make a plan. On heavy homework nights or when there’s an especially hefty assignment to tackle, encourage your child break up the work into manageable chunks. Create a work schedule for the night if necessary — and take time for a 15-minute break every hour, if possible.
5. Keep distractions to a minimum. This means no TV, loud music, or phone calls. (Occasionally, though, a phone call to a classmate about an assignment can be helpful.)
6. Make sure kids do their own work. They won’t learn if they don’t think for themselves and make their own mistakes. Parents can make suggestions and help with directions. But it’s a kid’s job to do the learning.
7. Be a motivator and monitor. Ask about assignments, quizzes, and tests. Give encouragement, check completed homework, and make yourself available for questions and concerns.

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8. Set a good example. Do your kids ever see you diligently balancing your budget or reading a book? Kids are more likely to follow their parents’ examples than their advice.
9. Praise their work and efforts. Post an aced test or art project on the refrigerator. Mention academic achievements to relatives.

 

Girls and Boys Looking at the Same Textbook in a Classroom at Primary School

10. If there are continuing problems with homework, get help. Talk about it with your child’s teacher. Some kids have trouble seeing the board and may need glasses; others might need an evaluation for a learning problem or attention disorder.

 

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TRACING LINKS BETWEEN MUSICAL TRAINING AND EXECUTIVE FUNCTION — AND BOLSTERING THE CASE FOR MUSIC IN SCHOOLS

 

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If educators want to develop critical, creative thinkers who can set and accomplish their own goals — and who can use those skills to strengthen their math and reading skills — they may want to take another look inside the music room.

For a child to play an instrument, she needs to stick to her goals, pay sustained attention, and be flexible enough to switch back and forth between tempos and styles. These habits draw heavily on executive function (EF) skills, cognitive processes that include problem-solving, goal setting, and flexible thinking. A number of studies have found that EF skills contribute hugely to students’ success in math and reading.

But music doesn’t just require EF skills; it may be a pathway to building them. That’s according to findings by developmental psychologist Nadine Gaab, whose work shows that people who play a musical instrument regularly have higher executive function skills than non-musicians — a significant finding for educators.

THE RESEARCH

In a 2014 study, Gaab and her research team, including Jennifer Zuk, Ed.M.’10; Christopher Benjamin; and Arnold Kenyon, examined 30 adults between 18 and 35, and 27 children between 9 and 12. Half the participants were “musical”: The adult musicians either were seeking or had obtained a performance degree and practiced at least eight hours a week, and the children had been taking private instrumental lessons for an average of 5.2 years.

The researchers examined the participants as they performed various tasks measuring EF skills. In a “verbal fluency” test, for example, the participants had to name in one minute as many words as possible starting with an assigned letter, excluding people, places, or numbers. In a “trail making” test, they had to draw straight lines as quickly as possible connecting numbers and letters in numerical and chronological order, while switching between numbers and letters.

The children in the study also performed several “set shifting” tasks under an fMRI, in which they had to press different buttons depending on audio and visual stimuli.

The results?

Overall, the musical participants performed better on several, although not all, of the executive function tests.

  • Both adult and children musicians exhibited higher cognitive flexibility than non-musicians.
  • The adult musicians showed a more proficient working memory, and the child musicians exhibited faster processing speed, than their non-musician peers.
  • Most significant, the researchers found differences in brain activation between child musicians and non-musicians. “We had more activation in areas of the brain I often call the ‘CEO regions’” — the frontal regions associated with executive function — “in the children who had musical training compared to others,” says Gaab.

IMPLICATIONS FOR FAMILIES AND SCHOOLS

Practicing a musical instrument, it seems, is directly correlated with increased executive function. So should parents rush to sign up their children for private lessons? Should schools redouble their focus on music?

Possibly, says Gaab. Their study was not a longitudinal one, in which researchers would have analyzed a group of children before beginning their musical training and then again after they had been regularly practicing. Consequently, she cannot say with certainty if practicing music increases EF, or if it’s the other way around. “Kids and adults who have really good executive function skills might stick longer with music or might be more drawn toward music,” explains Gaab.

However, this research does answer a crucial question left open by other studies that have found a link between music and cognitive function. A child musician might have strong EF skills because a family that can afford private instrument lessons is likely providing other forms of enrichment too, such as a language-rich household or stimulating summer camps. Gaab’s study controlled for IQ and socioeconomic status, however, showing that musical training, not other experiences, is the factor linked to EF.

So while the exact causal connection between executive function and music remains unclear, the researchers still advise schools to take note. “Replacing music programs with reading or math instruction in our nation’s school curricula in order to boost standardized test scores,” they write, “may actually lead to deficient skills in other cognitive areas.”

Written By Leah Shafer