Charity roundup – Service push – NEA chief dies

Here are the latest nonprofit headlines:

* In his State of the Union address, President Bush called on Americans to spend two years or 4,000 hours volunteering, and said he would consolidate the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps under a new umbrella group, the U.S. Freedom Corps, The New York Times reported Jan. 30.

* Bush picked James Towey, an advocate for the aging who worked with Mother Teresa’s ministry for more than 10 years, to head his effort to give federal money to religious charities that deliver social services, The New York Times reported Feb. 2.

* Bush also is pushing a bipartisan plan to boost government funding of religious groups that deliver social services, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 30.

* One week after starting his job as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, 69-year-old Michael Hammond died at his home, apparently of natural causes, The New York Times reported Jan. 30.

*Nearly half of the 50 biggest United Way affiliates in the U.S. failed to meet their campaign fundraising goals in 2001, thanks to the stumbling economy and impact of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Orlando Sentinel reported Jan. 28.

*With $24 billion in assets, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the biggest in history, and is taking an entrepreneurial approach to tackling global health problems, Newsweek reported in the cover story of its Feb. 4 issues.

*With an estimated $3 billion in stock from the estate of William Hewlett, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Co., the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation will nearly double its assets, become possibly the sixth-largest U.S. philanthropy and boost its efforts in the areas of population planning, school reform and energy policy, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 28.

* Companies have rushed to team up with charities to market hundreds of products sold in the name of the Sept. 11 attacks, and while some charities have insisted on contracts and other formal deals with the companies, other companies have made no guarantees about how their sales will benefit charities, The New York Times reported Feb. 2.

* Professorships endowed by Arthur Andersen, Enron and Kenneth Lay, Enron’s former chief, are in doubt because of the growing scandal involving Enron’s collapse, and even academics with secure positions find their posts are tainted by their benefactors’ names, The New York Times reported Feb. 3.

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