News roundup – DeLay charity opposed

Here are the week’s top nonprofit stories:

* The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy is urging the IRS to deny tax-exempt status to a nonprofit set up by Tom DeLay, House majority leader, because it would skirt the new  “soft money” campaign reform law. DeLay plans to have high-end donors sponsor private parties at next year’s Republican convention, with net proceeds going to his Celebrations for Children charity, but a large share would pay for reelection fundraisers for President Bush.

* Nonprofits are not lobbying as much as they might because they believe they may not, despite a seldom-used 1976 law that spells out exactly how much nonprofits can lobby, a Washington Post opinion column said Nov. 30.

* President Bush’s “compassion capital fund,” which uses federal money to strengthen small, faith-based charities, also helps them compete for federal social-service contracts, the Boston Globe reported Dec. 1. Many secular nonprofits now are seeking partnerships with faith-based charities to get access to federal money.

* A new survey shows Americans are more confident in charities now than earlier this year, but confidence still remains below pre-Sept. 11 levels, The New York Times reported Nov. 27.

* A group of Canadian charity managers is asking the federal government to crack down on “buy low, donate high” schemes in which a donor can purchase items such as art at a low price, and then donate them to charity at a higher appraised value, the Globe and Mail reported Dec. 1.

* The British government will go ahead with a draft bill to shake up 400-year-old charity laws that will include a requirement that charities work for the “public benefit” and exempt charities with incomes under 5000 pounds, or $8,630, from registering with the Charity Commission, the Guardian Unlimited reported Nov. 26.

* The Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Md., has $11 billion in assets, making it the second-largest U.S. nonprofit, but one of the quietest, CBS News reported Nov. 23. Hughes, founder of Hughes Aircraft, created the nonprofit merely to sidestep an Air Force ultimatum that asked him to give up control of the company, but when it was sold to General Motors for $5 billion in 1984, the nonprofit became one of the wealthiest in the country.

* The United Nations Foundation, formed by media mogul Ted Turner, now has board of directors with a female majority, which is rare among large nonprofits, the Associated Press reported Nov. 24. Turner recently said that men should not be running the world because they have messed it up throughout history, and that the world would be more peaceful, prosperous and equitable if women were in control.

— Compiled by Jennifer Whytock

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