Stańczyk, The Prussian Homage (detail), Jan Matejko, Oil on canvas, 1882, 388 x 875 cm, National Museum in Kraków

Stańczyk, The Prussian Homage (detail), Jan Matejko, Oil on canvas, 1882, 388 x 875 cm, National Museum in Kraków

Happy day before April Fool’s Day! In Medieval Europe, the court fool was a multi-purpose entertainer who could sing, perform feats of illusion, or do whatever else was asked of him. Keeping the court happy was his main job, but his most important job was to speak truth to power. Only the fool could insult the king and keep his head. Try not to lose your head as you catch up on these five stories in nonprofit news.

1.  A Gift Right Now in a Galaxy Not Too Far From Our Own

Most of us know George Lucas as the man who gave us the sagas of the Skywalker family and the epic adventures of Indiana Jones, but in nonprofit circles the visionary filmmaker is equally well known for his philanthropy. When he sold his Star Wars universe to Disney, Lucas used the $4 billion in proceeds to fund education. Most recently, he continued his patronage of the USC School of Cinematic Arts by donating $10 million to support continuing diversity projects at his Alma Mater, citing the need to raise up new filmmakers of color. Find out more about Lucas' philanthropy.

2.  “The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump frequently promised to donate the $400,000 presidential salary to charity. While the White House has yet to announce where he will donate the money at the end of the year, the internet has already weighed in. The Chronicle of Philanthropy has conducted an informal online survey of more than 21,000 people as to where the money should go. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation led the pack followed by several other disease-related organizations and a number of veterans groups.  The Chronicle of Philanthropy has already forwarded the top ten charities to the White House, but you can get all the details at the link above.

3.  But How Can a River Appear in Court?

The concept of corporate personhood is a fiercely debated subject in American politics, and the governments of India and New Zealand have further complicated the matter by declaring that bodies of water have personhood as well. In India, the Ganga and Yamuna rivers, which are sacred in the Hindu religion, have been declared to possess the legal rights of humans as part of an effort to clean and preserve the heavily polluted waters. Meanwhile, in New Zealand, the Whanganui River (also known as the Te Awa Tupua) has been endowed with legal personhood after the local Maori community won a 170 year legal battle to perserve a landmark of immense cultural importance to them.  Learn more about the legal ramifications of these rulings at Nonprofit Quarterly.

4.  Time for Some New Ideas

One of the great American heroes is the entrepreneur. Intrepid, bold geniuses who start something in their garage and sometimes succeed in changing the world. Fast Company has announced the twelve winners of their World Changing Ideas Awards, which rewards potential innovations in social entrepreneurship. From edible six-pack rings to 3D printing replacement organs, all of these outside-the-box ideas have the potential to make the world better in a big way. Read about the twelve winners (and the 192 finalists) at the Fast Company announcement.

5.  This Certainly Puts a Spin on Being Your Own Boss

A big part of any leader’s job is coaching his/her employees--guiding them through their responsibilities and helping them to reflect on their failures.  But when you’re on the top, who coaches you? You do, of course. It may seem odd to act as your own best cheerleader and best critic, but Jean Lobell, Mohan Sikka and Pavitra Menon have laid out several strategies for self-coaching so that you can, in essence, be your own boss. At least for your performance reviews. Find out how to be your own best boss at Nonprofit Quarterly.

Remember, don’t believe anything you read on the internet tomorrow. Unless it’s from us, of course. See you next week!

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