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Nonprofitxpress roundup – College endowments grow

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Here are the week’s top nonprofit stories:

* Most U.S. college investments grew in 2003, The New York Times reported Sept. 28. The biggest gains were at Harvard, which posted a 12.5 percent return on its $19.3 billion endowment; Yale, earning 8.8 percent on its $11 billion endowment, and Princeton, earning 8 percent return on $8.7 billion.

* CEOs at the largest nonprofits earned a median 4.3 percent pay raise last year, and 45 executives earned $500,000 or more, says a new survey, the Associated Press reported Sept. 29.

* Donations to the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination, fell steadily from 1968 to 1998 to 2.03 percent of churchgoers’ income, far lower than the 10 percent “tithe” requested by the church, The New York Times reported Sept 27.

* Senate leaders will add several tax items to the Senate version of the charitable giving bill, including an expanded refundable child credit, work-opportunity credit, welfare-to-work credit, and tax cuts for military members, Tax Analysts reported Oct. 2.

* Canadian business leaders said in a survey they would likely donate more to charities if the charities were obligated to disclose full financial records and were governed by accountable boards of directors, the Financial Post reported Oct. 1.

* Fundraising and program expenses at Jewish nonprofits were on par with those at non-Jewish nonprofits in a recent ranking, but the Jewish nonprofits ranked lower in liquid assets such as cash, stocks or sellable property, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported Sept. 25.

* Bill and Melinda Gates consider their ability to take big risks and survive failure a great strength of their foundation, but the sheer scale of its operation and the ability to effectively spend its money may be the foundation’s greatest challenge, the Washington Post reported Oct. 1. The hands-on founders have poured $3.2 billion into difficult health issues since 1994, and still are waiting to see any new drugs or vaccines.

* The University of California lost its court battle to prevent the disclosure of performance returns on its private-equity investments, marking a setback for public pension funds and venture capitalists that fear the ruling will put them at a competitive disadvantage, The Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 1.

* In its merger with Manulife Financial, John Hancock Financial Services in Boston will be able to maintain its annual local charitable giving and volunteer support of Boston public schools that totals over $5 million, The Boston Globe reported Sept. 29.

* Two large foundations in Missouri are changing, the St. Louis Business Journal reported Sept. 22. The Danforth Foundation in St. Louis will focus solely on life sciences and biotechnology, and plans eventually to dissolve, while the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City is being investigated by the Missouri attorney general, has lost many board members, and has cut staff by 41 percent to 95 employees.

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