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News roundup – Charity policing lags

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Here are the week’s top nonprofit stories:

* While the number of private foundations and the amount of giving has doubled in the last 10 years, state and federal money to monitor charity has been flat or declined, making charity oversight insufficient, the New York Times reported Nov.17 in its annual special section on giving. Stories about charitable wrongdoings have led to more and more calls for reform, but most attempts have been squashed by nonprofit lobbying or lack of funds.

* A new survey of Americans 45 and older by AARP shows older blacks are more involved with charity through church, Asians are more likely to give to cultural groups like museums and Hispanics donate the most time but the least money, the Washington Post reported Nov. 18. 

* Presidential candidate Howard Dean proposed a $7.1 billion program that would guarantee $10,000 per year in grants and loans to eighth graders who make a commitment to higher education, The New York Times reported Nov.14. Dean also would quadruple AmeriCorps and suggested that college graduates never should be put in the position of owing more than 10 percent of their income in college loan payments and having to repay loans more than 10 years after graduation.

* Unicef received a $10 million challenge grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fight maternal and neonatal tetanus, which kills about 230,000 mothers and babies annually but can be prevented with a $1.20 vaccine treatment.

* Pharmaceutical maker Pfizer will donate 135 million doses of Zithromax, the world’s biggest-selling antibiotic, to help fight trachoma, an infection of the upper eyelid that has affected 146 million people and blinded about 6 million, the Washington Post reported Nov.12.

* Two new philanthropic giving catalogues, which spotlight small, local nonprofits to help give them more exposure to donors, will be distributed soon to Washington D.C.-area residents, the Washington Post reported Nov. 17.

* Paul Newman’s food company, Newman’s Own, a line of spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, lemonade and popcorn, that donates all profits to charity, has given $150 million over its 21-year history, including $18 million this year, The New York Times reported Nov. 16. Several small companies that support philanthropy and corporate social responsibility recently have been gaining a larger consumer following.

— Compiled by Jennifer Whytock

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