Drug firms’ giving tied to high prices

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

* Drugmakers’ contributions to charities set up to help patients pay for expensive drugs keeps those patients insured, and keeps insurers paying for the high-priced medicine, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 1.

* A survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project says the number of Americans giving online surged in the past year, with 13 million donors making internet contributions to help victims of Katrina and Rita, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported Nov. 24.

* With settlements of legal cases on the rise, law firms are looking for pro-bono work to develop their associates’ courtroom skills, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 1.

* Some nonprofit leaders fear a bill passed by the Senate to boost charitable giving could hurt giving by Americans with modest incomes who itemize on their tax returns, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported Nov. 23.

* Many of the estimated 4,000 nonprofits that accept vehicle donations say new federal rules that no longer let donors deduct vehicles’ fair market value are reducing their revenue and in some cases affecting operations, The New York Times reported Nov. 28.

* The chief investment officer for Yale’s endowment, which over two decades has invested heavily in hedge funds and earned annual returns of over 16 percent, says unsophisticated investors should steer clear of “funds of hedge funds” because they do not include the best hedge funds, The New York Times reported Nov. 27.

* Known for trying to stop big real-estate-development project, the Sierra Club is releasing a report that endorses mixed-use residential, commercial and retail developments in a dozen U.S. cities, a move that could help it gain new allies, The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 30.

* Ad agency Leo Burnett is launching a marketing campaign to find a nonprofit that needs a marketing campaign, The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 29.

* Russia is moving to exercise more government control over charities, moves that critics say would stifle democracy, The New York Times reported Nov. 23.

* British charities have a hole worth 557 million pound, or $963 million, in their pension plans, the Telegraph reported Nov. 30.

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