Katrina fuels relief agencies’ rivalry

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

* The Salvation Army is winning praise for its quick relief work in areas hit by Katrina, while the Red Cross is drawing criticism for its bureaucratic stumbles, The Wall Street Journal reported Sept. 29.

* Harvard University posted a 19.2 percent return on its investments in its last fiscal year, increasing its endowment to $25.9 million, the biggest by far of any university, The New York Times reported Oct. 1.

* WellPoint, the biggest U.S. health insurer, is close to acquiring WellChoice, the biggest health insurer in New York State and the parent of Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, in a $6.5 billion deal that would give about $4 billion to the New York Public Asset Fund, which was formed when the state gave Empire permission to convert from a nonprofit to a for-profit business, The New York Times reported Sept. 27.

* Fewer donations are flowing to charities in Boston’s northern suburbs in the wake of the outpouring of support for victims of Katrina and Rita, The Boston Globe reported Oct. 2.

* The impulse to do good varies based on circumstances, with people more likely to give when events like Katrina hit close to home, or when donations can generate a gift or are solicited by attractive individuals, The New York Times reported Oct. 2.

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