Mega-gifts up

Here are the week’s top nonprofit stories:

* Philanthropic giving was marked by several “mega-gifts” this year, including $2.5 billion to Warren Buffett’s foundation on his wife’s death, and an estimated $3 billion from Bill and Melinda Gates to their foundation, Business Week reported Nov. 29 in its third annual ranking of the top 50 U.S. philanthropists.  The Gates led the list, followed by Intel founder Gordon Moore and his wife, Betty, and Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

* The IRS will closely watch how charitable contributions are deducted this year, making enforcement among tax-exempt organizations and contributors a higher priority, and warns taxpayers not to overvalue donated property such as cars, the Boston Globe reported Nov. 27.

* The World Jewish Congress is being accused of mismanagement of funds arising from transfers of $1.2 million to Swiss and London accounts by the group’s head, Rabbi Israel Singer, and an accountant has been fired for paying himself excessive salary, the New York Times reported Nov. 30.

* Donor-advised funds are a fast-growing part of the charity sector, and funds by Fidelity Investments and Vanguard Group are increasing their investment options in response, while others, like Charles Schwab’s fund, let donors suggest their own money managers to invest their contributions, the Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 24.

* In the wake of a few high-profile disputes, university fundraisers and donors are crafting more detailed agreements for how donated money will be used, with donors demanding more accountability and schools becoming more discriminating in gifts they accept, the New York Times reported Nov. 27.

* One in three people ages 18 to 25 surveyed in Dublin, Ireland, give no money to charity, while more than nine in 10 people ages 35 to 44 give, according to a new survey by the Community Foundation of Ireland, with more than half of respondents giving to Irish charities, reported Nov. 24.

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