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Hari Dillon and the once-proud Vanguard Public Foundation’s ruin

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What a rollercoaster ride for Hari Dillon, 64, former head of the Vanguard Public Foundation who awaits sentencing next month for his role in a money-laundering scheme that destroyed the venerable social justice philanthropy. (That’s Dillon, along with actor Danny Glover, at a 2003 anti-war protest in San Francisco.) Israeli entrepreneur Samuel “Mouli” Cohen, 54, was convicted in April of swindling $30 million from the San Francisco-based charity whose noble-minded early backers included heirs to the Pillsbury and Du Pont fortunes.

The Bay Citizen’s Shoshana Walter says that as Dillon awaits his fate, former board members and staffers are still trying to come to grips with Vanguard’s implosion. An excerpt:

Now besieged by civil suits, Dillon said in an interview that he has bounced from home to home for more than a year. On Independence Day this year, he sat in an aging Cow Hollow motel room, surrounded by copious notes, boxes of paper and the few belongings that aren’t locked in a storage space he can no longer afford.

That’s a far cry from when he oversaw the group’s 20th anniversary bash at the Hyatt Regency in 1993, when Harry Belafonte was the keynote speaker, and the foundation dispatched private jets to fly in the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, author Alice Walker, Joan Baez and Carlos Santana.

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