Nonprofitxpress roundup – Andersen goes to trial

Compiled by Donnie Stanley

Here are the latest nonprofit headlines:

*Arthur Andersen, Enron’s former accounting firm, goes on trial this week in Arizona to face charges of alleged fraud that led the Baptist Foundation of Arizona to file the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, The Los Angeles Times reported April 29.

*The American Red Cross and the United Way collected more than $1 billion in relief funds after Sept. 11, but have distributed only 16 cents on the dollar to families of those killed in the attacks, The Washington Bureau reported April 29. The remaining amount was given to those who lost their jobs, to help New York recover financially or placed into reserve funds to be used for future needs related to the attacks.

*The SBC Foundation, the charitable arm of SBC Communications, has launched a $25 million program to help community-based groups use technology more effectively.  The foundation funded a $10 million competitive grants program and awarded the first two $1 million national grants under the initiative.

* A partnership, headed by Provident Foundation Inc., a Baton Rouge-based not-for-profit group, has purchased a prison in Georgia and is helping other public and private prison operators eliminate debt by offering off-the-books financing in exchange for possible high fees, The Wall Street Journal reported May 1. The group, consisting of lawyers, investors and financial consultants, sold more than $420 million of debt in the last nine months from other correction facilities to investors, and uses profits from fees to build more prisons and halfway houses –- and treats those profits as tax-exempt revenue. 

*RSI Holdings Inc., Dallas-based parent of fundraising firm Ketchum Inc., has changed its name to Viscern and will launch its own foundation, the Viscern Charitable Foundation, The Pittsburgh Business Times reported May 1. The company works with more than 400 organizations in 47 states that are trying to more than $4.5 billion.

*The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave a $9 million grant to the Online Computer Library Center in Dublin, Ohio, to build a web-based public computer portal to be accessed by libraries across the U.S.  The web site will give libraries access to tools to help maintain current public access workstations.

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