Smaller colleges embrace hedge funds

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

* Encouraged by stellar investment returns at Harvard and Yale, which have earmarked 12 percent and 25 percent, respectively, of their endowments in hedge funds, a dozen smaller colleges have more than 40 percent of their portfolios in those higher-risk investments, and could be putting their endowments at risk, BusinessWeek reported in its May 15 edition.

* Tens of thousands of people work for groups that have opted out of a law that lets churches and church affiliates avoid costly and complicated pension rules that apply to secular employees, The New York Times reported May 2.

* Nonprofit theater companies throughout the U.S. use a variety of techniques, from traditional grants and board fundraising to unorthodox strategies like go-go dancers and poker games, to attract donors, The New York Times reported May 7.

* Neil Nicoll, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Seattle, has been named CEO of the Chicago-based YMCA of the USA, effective June 26, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported May 9.

* Of an estimated $43 billion a year they spend on information technology, nonprofits in the U.S. spend about $11 million on software, and many of them turn to specialists, mainly for software to track and manage donors and prospective donors, Forbes reported in its May 4 edition.

* The Community Foundation Silicon Valley and the Peninsula Community Foundation, two of the Bay Area’s biggest charities, say they are considering merger, a deal that would create one of the biggest community foundations in the U.S., the Associated Press reported May 4.

* The IRS ruled groups that provide down-payment assistance to homebuyers, and that are funded largely by homebuilders and other sellers, no longer qualify for tax-exempt status because the benefits of their programs go to sellers and profit-making entities, a ruling that curt limit the ability of lower-income U.S. citizens to buy homes, The Wall Street Journal reported May 5.

* In addition to providing a chance to give back to society, feel connected to causes and even socialize or social-climbing, philanthropy offers celebrities the potential for improving their image and career, Forbes magazine reported May 5.

* A foundation created by a former math professor who started a hedge fund will give $25 million to the Statute University New York at Stony Brook, The New York Times reported May 9.

* The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, created to raise money to build the 9/11 memorial and museum, has indefinitely suspended its fundraising, citing the need for “complete clarity” on the project’s design and costs, The New York Times reported May 9.

* Boston University officials say John Silber, the school’s long-time president and chancellor, collected $6.1 million last year, The New York Times reported May 10.

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