House votes to kill death tax

Here are the week’s top nonprofit headlines reported elsewhere:

* The U.S. House voted to permanently repeal the estate tax in 2010, handing the issue to the Senate, where repeal backers seem just shy of the votes they need, The Washington Post reported April 14. In an email message to members, the Southeastern Council on Foundations cited research predicting repeal would spur a decline of 22 percent to 27 percent in charitable bequests, or $3.6 billion to $6 billion a year.

* Charitable trusts, foundations and scores of individuals have filed at least seven class-action suits throughout the U.S. accusing banks overseeing their assets of improper activities, including mismanagement of funds and conflicts over which charities can benefit from a trust, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported in its April 14 edition.

* Wal-Mart, a week after formation of an alliance among environmentalists, organized labor and community groups targeting the giant retailer, said it would give $35 million over 10 years to a new conservation initiative by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The New York Times reported April 13.

* David Rockefeller said he had pledged $100 million to the Museum of Modern Art, its biggest gift ever, The New York Times reported April 13.

* The International Committee of the Red Cross is engaging in “lawfare” that aims to curb American power using the law, has abandoned its main role as an impartial humanitarian body, and should no longer get U.S. tax dollars, two former officials of the Justice Department under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush said in an opinion column April 11 in The Wall Street Journal.

* The United Steelworkers of America won an election that could let it represent 115 workers at the Alexander Youth Network in Charlotte, N.C., the first nonprofit group in the region organized by the union, The Charlotte Business Journal reported in its April 8 edition.

* Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, ousted chairman and CEO of American International Group, has resigned as a director of at least two nonprofits to which he and foundations he controls have donated millions of dollars, The Wall Street Journal reported April 11. Among the 10 outside AIG directors who helped oust Greenberg were colleagues whose favorite causes he had supported, The New York Times reported April 10.

* Charity advocates criticized the failure of parliament to pass a bill overhauling Britain’s charities law before the general election, The Guardian reported April 6.

* Charitable donations in Britain nearly doubled over the last 18 months in the wake of international humanitarian disasters, The Daily Mail reported April 10.

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