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Foundations: personal perspectives

   Short tales of how foundation money changes lives are in the story of the free-tax clinic and in today's multimedia collection of video shorts: From Sister Helen Wolf, who used foundation money to do neighborhood outreach and find a way to connect with African refugees, to after-school program that is one boy's oasis and Lisa Clute's discovery of the free tax clinic and how it  helped her climb out of overwhelming debt.

   Foundation leaders say they do try to use their millions to help this economically ailing region and the working poor and people who live in poverty. Traditional scholarship programs are still in the mix, along with more unusual efforts intended to do something else besides tend to the  daily needs of desperation. They say they want to address some of the more complicated problems, such as the tax clinics effort to get unclaimed refunds and a program to train administrators to do a better job of leading public schools that are failing.

   What do you think? Is this enough? What else should be done? Share your ideas of  better ways for foundations and nonprofits to spend millions of dollars exempt from taxes and reserved for charity. Or, has philanthropy from a foundation affected your life at time of great need? Tell us your story.

-- Michelle Kearns

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