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Nonprofitxpress roundup – Foundation assets decline

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Here are the latest nonprofit headlines:

*Assets fell 10 percent on average among 131 big grantmakers in 2001, according to a survey by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, prompting more than 100 of the largest U.S. foundations to cut or halt grantmaking.

*Shareholder rejection of the proposed merger of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq has not prompted any change in grantmaking by the Hewlett and Packard family foundations, which control the largest bloc of Hewlett-Packard shares voting against the merger, The Mercury News reported March 30.

*Facing criticism about an investment similar to Enron deals, Barry C. Melancon, CEO of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, will give stock, purchased for $100,000 and valued at $5 million, to charities, The New York Times reported March 30. Critics say the investment was a conflict of interest because Melancon allegedly used his position as head of a nonprofit to gain from a commercial deal.

*Alex. Brown & Sons Charitable Foundation will give $11 million, half of its $21 million in assets, to 34 nonprofit groups in the Baltimore area to sustain its name after a recent merger, The SunSpot.net reported March 28.  The name will be used by the private client investment unit of its new parent company, Deutsche Bank.

*The Internal Revenue Service will ease document tax rules for people who donated to charities that were created for Sept. 11 victims, The Associated Press reported March 28.  More than $2 billion was given to charities for the sole purpose of helping victims of Sept. 11, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

*Arthur Andersen, Enron’s former accounting firm, will not pay $217 million it agreed to pay to settle lawsuits of alleged fraud at the Baptist Foundation of Arizona, The Washington Post reported March 30.  The firm’s insurer, Professional Services Insurance Company, says it can’t approve the settlement.

*The Museum of Modern Art in New York wants to add another hedge fund to its alternative portfolio, using $12 million, or 3 percent of its $400 million endowment as part of a new hedge fund strategy, the Institutional Investor online reported April 3. MoMA now allocates $140 million, or 35 percent of its endowment, to alternative investments.

*The Jewish Women’s Foundation has started the first foundation for women and girls in Pittsburgh, PittsburghLive.com reported April 1. Women and Philanthropy, an organization of 200 female donors, will consider forming a foundation for women in southeastern Pennsylvania.

*The United Way of the National Capital Area was cleared of allegations of mismanagement, according to a report released by McGladrey & Pullen, an accounting firm investigating the group, The Washington Post reported April 3.

*Penske Chairman Robert Penske has pledged to raise $12 million to help Detroit host the Super Bowl in 2006, and asked the Greater Downtown Partnership to identify what needs to be done to revive the city’s downtown, an effort that could cost $100 million, The Detroit News reported April 4.

*The Salt Lake City Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympics is donating $4 million worth of new and scarcely used goods from the Olympic Village to local charities, the New Jersey Online reported April 5. 

*U.S. Sen. Charles E. Grassley wants the Federal Trade Commission, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice to investigate whether certain charities, such as the Atlanta-based Children’s Wish Foundation, are using telemarketers outside the U.S. for fundraising efforts to avoid anti-fraud laws, The Washington Times reported April 5. 

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