The American Civil Liberties Union has lost a quarter of its yearly donations after a major donor cut off $19 million in annual donations because of economic difficulties.
David Gelbaum, a wealthy California conservationist, said he was indefinitely stopping the donations that had made him the New York-based group's largest anonymous donor.
"For a number of years, your organization has received very substantial charitable contributions from me," Gelbaum said in a statement. "My investments in alternative, clean energy companies have placed me in a highly illiquid position as a result of the general credit crisis in the American and world financial systems."
Harvard announced Thursday that it would indefinitely suspend construction on a high-tech science complex in the Allston neighborhood of Boston because of money problems.
“The altered financial landscape of the university, and of the wider world, necessitates a shift away from rapid development in Allston,” Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s president, wrote in aletter released Thursday.
As part of a larger long-term expansion into Allston — a pet project of Lawrence H. Summers, Dr. Faust’s predecessor at Harvard and nowPresident Obama’s chief economic adviser — the university also bought a string of buildings there over the last 20 years. But many have remained vacant, to the chagrin of Allston residents who have accused the university of buying land and holding onto it, a practice known as land banking.
The four-building science center, estimated to cost at least $1 billion, was originally scheduled to be finished in 2011. Dr. Faust’s announcement comes 10 months after she announced plans to slow the pace of the project while the university assessed whether it could continue. Harvard has since disclosed that its endowment declined 27 percent from June 2008 to June 2009, to $26 billion, and the university has made several cost-cutting moves.