Relief for political nonprofits


Here are the week’s top nonprofit stories:

* The Federal Election Commission voted not to put limits on the activity of so-called “527” independent political nonprofits for at least 90 days and any future ruling unlikely will apply to the elections this year, The New York Times reported May 14.

* The 25 biggest corporate donors in Washington, D.C., gave $117.5 million in 2003, up from the $89 million in 2002, with mortgage companies Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae leading the way, the Washington Business Journal reported May 5.

* Conservative groups are scrutinizing the philanthropic work of Teresa Heinz Kerry, board chair of the Howard Heinz Endowment and Heinz Family Philanthropies in Pittsburgh and wife of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, and are concerned that she plans, if he is elected president, to continue her work at the foundations, which give out over $50 million annually, The New York Times reported May 9.

* A court ruling requiring public institutions to disclose performance of their investments could prompt venture capitalists, who like to keep their funds’ performance secret, to bar investments from the University of California system, which could get more than $200 million from its investment in two venture capital funds with holdings Google, the online search engine, The Wall Street Journal reported May 11.

* Fannie Mae has set up 55 partnership offices in the U.S. that work with real-estate developers, mayors and low-income housing advocates to choose which housing projects to finance, and then uses those partners who live in favored lawmakers’ districts to help Fannie Mae’s lobbying efforts in Congress, The Wall Street Journal reported May 6.

* British-based worldwide relief charity Oxfam and Matthew Algie, the largest independent British coffee roaster, will launch a chain of fair trade coffee shops, called Progresso, in partnership with coffee-grower co-operatives.

* The British Charity Commission is fine-tuning a form that charities with annual incomes of more than one million pounds, or over $1.76 million, will have to submit annually for posting on the commission’s website to increase accountability and allow the public to compare similar charities, the Guardian reported May 13.

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