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Philanthropy Column

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A group of 41 private, community, and corporate foundations has offered its advice to the Clinton Administration in a memorandum on how to improve collaboration between the government and the philanthropic community.

The document calls for, among other initiatives, greater investment in preventive services for at-risk children and families, and the development of welfare-to-work policies "that provide incentives for work, for strengthening families, and for comprehensive services.''

It also recommends that a point person be designated at the White House to coordinate efforts between the government and the private sector.

The memorandum--which grew out of discussions at last fall's annual meeting of Grantmakers for Children, Youth, and Families, a subgroup of the Council on Foundations--represents the first time the group has taken a public-policy stance, according to Mary Leonard, the director of the council's precollegiate program.

The group was inspired to take the action, she said, because of the new Administration's "strong platform positions and past history supporting children'' and because of "a real desire to work with them.''

The document is available for free by calling the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation's publications hot line at (313) 766-1766.

George Soros, a multimillionaire and international businessman, announced last week that he will contribute $13.5 million to support education reform in the former Soviet Union.

About $5 million of the grant will be used to support projects designed to improve humanities and social-science teaching in Russian secondary schools and universities, according to Jody Spiro, the director of planning for the Soros Foundations.

Among other projects, the money will be used for professional-development opportunities for secondary school principals.

Other funds will underwrite a grant competition, in which 325 teams have been selected to write high school textbooks in history, law, economics, and political science, among other subjects.

Another $5 million will pay for the publication of the new textbooks.

The remaining $3.5 million will go to support similar initiatives in Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic States.

Mr. Soros, who was born in Hungary in 1930 and emigrated to the United States in 1956, is the chief investment adviser to the Quantum Fund N.V., a $2.5 billion international investment fund. Last summer, he earned millions of dollars through currency speculation.--M.S.

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