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Nonprofitxpress roundup – Charity bill ok’d

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*The U.S. Senate passed a trimmed-down version of President Bush’s plan to support religious groups, giving tax incentives to spur contributions to charities, although Republicans already are using other legislation to push the White House agenda of increasing government support for religious charities, The New York Times reported April 10.

*Estimating that local United Way drives last year raised 3 percent to 4 percent less than the $3.9 billion they raised in 2001, the United Way of America plans to reduce its 200-employee staff, the Washington Post reported April 5.

*Arts groups are running out of cash, stung by falling donations, shrinking state budgets, a falloff in visitors and a reduction in giving by some foundations that are shifting their attention to needs such as health and education needs, The Economist reported in its April 5 edition.

*Mutual funds that do not invest in military contractors are keeping a low profile during the war in Iraq because promoting themselves now would benefit from war, The Wall Street Journal reported April 9.

*Nonprofits that offer debt-management services to Marylanders would need a state license and face caps on fees they charge to customers under legislation passed by state lawmakers, the Baltimore Sun reported April 9.

*Charity Bank, the first general charity in Wales to be authorized as a bank, offers cheap loans to charities that lack access to mainstream lenders, with all deposits used only to fund social enterprises in communities, BBC News reported April 8.

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