Kerry would revise Bush faith spending

Here are the week’s top nonprofit stories:

* Democrat John Kerry wants to revise an executive order that encourages more federal spending on religious groups that do social work, keeping the use of those funds separate from religious work, CBS News reported July 19. Signed by President Bush, the order channeled $1 billion to religious groups last year, up 15 percent from the previous year.

* Bill Gates will give $3 billion from his Microsoft dividend payout to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, BBC News reported July 21. The $27 billion-asset foundation has won approval to trade in China’s $500 billion stock markets, Reuters reported July 20.

* A coalition of companies, unions, consumer groups and political leaders has urged creation of an independent board to limit growth in medical spending in the U.S. within five years to the rate of economic growth, The Wall Street Journal reported July 21.

* Contending that organized philanthropy, like the academic world, “remains firmly in the grip of orthodox liberalism,” James Piereson, executive director of the John M. Olin Foundation, said in an opinion column July 21 in The Wall Street Journal that a new generation of conservative philanthropists is needed to make sure conservative principles maintain a central place in debates about the future.

* High-profile law firms have filed 31 lawsuits in federal court since June that allege 300 nonprofit hospitals act more like for-profit entities than tax-exempt charities, USA Today reported July 19.

* A report by the National Council for Voluntary Organizations says big charities with well-known “brands” dominate government funding, reported July 19.

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