Katrina fraud at Red Cross centers

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

* Investigators found evidence that employees of Red Cross call centers staffed by temporary workers hired by Spherion, a Florida-based staffing company, were issuing money orders to fake hurricane victims and then cashing them themselves or giving them to family and friends, The Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 19.

* After a long search, Harvard University named Mohamed A. El-Efrian, an emerging markets bond specialist and Harvard grad, to oversee its $26 billion endowment, The New York Times reported Oct. 15.

* Nonprofits in the U.S. are finding it tough to raise money to pay for relief efforts in South Asia following the devastating earthquake there, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported Oct. 12.

* The Red Cross said it had spent or committed $1.34 billion as of Oct. 4 to the Katrina and Rita relief effort, and that its overall costs for the effort would exceed $2 billion.

* Google is committing nearly $1 billion to its philanthropic arm, the Associated Press reported Oct. 12.

* DonorsChoose, a New York City nonprofit that connects donors and teachers to provide supplies for public school students, won the first Nonprofit Innovation Award in a fundraising competition sponsored by Amazon.com, The New York Times reported Oct. 12.

* The Smithsonian Institute received $45 million from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation for renovations and exhibitions in the Old Patent Office Building, The New York Times reported Oct. 11.

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