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Charity roundup – Microsoft deal eyed – Massachusetts incentives

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Here’s a roundup of recent nonprofit news:

* With a federal judge preparing to rule on a proposed $1 billion deal to settle a class-action suit charging that Microsoft used its monopoly clout to overcharge customers, critics said the firm’s proposal to donate technology to schools would give it a competitive advantage and that schools would lack the funds to support the donated computers and software, the Associated Press reported Nov. 28.

If schools “take the bait,” BusinessWeek columnist Charles Haddad wrote Nov. 28, Microsoft’s offer “could transform the education market, making customers of schools that were previously too poor to build educational computer networks.”

* Plans by Home Depot chairman Bernie Marcus to donate $200 million to build an aquarium in Atlanta drew praise from local arts leaders, although some voiced disappointment that other local needs were not being met, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Nov. 29.

* Nonprofits in New York City are gearing for cuts in their contracts with city agencies, leaving hundreds of neighborhood services in limbo in the face of a big rise in demand for services in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and declines in state funding and private philanthropy, Newsday reported Nov. 29.

* The Columbus Foundation named Douglas F. Kridler, president of the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, as its fifth president, succeeding James I. Luck, The Columbus Dispatch reported Nov. 22.

* The Bradley Foundation named Michael W. Grebe, chairman of the law firm Foley & Lardner and a national Republican leader, as its new president, succeeding Michael Joyce, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Nov. 20.

* Ninety-four percent of Los Angeles residents donated money or goods for charitable purposes over the past year, according to a survey by the California Community Foundation. It found that two-thirds of those surveyed did something to help victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, while seven in 10 say Sept. 11 giving won’t reduce what they give to other causes.

* Massachusetts charities are looking forward to increased giving this year because of a new state tax deduction for charitable giving but are frustrated Congress has not taken similar action, The Boston Globe reported Nov. 23.

* Pele Sports and Marketing, the company of Brazilian soccer legend Pele, is under fire. The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 29. The firm allegedly kept a $700,000 advance from a now-defunct Argentine bank to stage a soccer match and concert in 1995 to benefit for UNICEF, the United Nations children’s fund, that never took place, the Journal said.

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