Abramoff routed money through nonprofits

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

* Documents released in the Jack Abramoff lobbying investigation reveal Abramoff used nonprofits to route money to his clients’ funds, leading investigators to examine whether nonprofit leaders knew about the transactions and whether they benefited from the dealings, the Washington Post reported June 25.

* The Red Cross announced plans for a controversial overhaul that will place small, rural and modestly-funded chapters under the administration of the 200 largest chapters, a move meant to block repeats of financial scandals coming out of some chapters in recent years, the Washington Post reported June 27.

* The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s initiatives funding new small high schools in America are returning mixed results, with some schools graduating more than 90 percent of students and other schools closing entirely, Business Week reported June 26.

* Philanthropic aid coming out of Arab countries amounts to between $250 billion to $1 trillion a year, with many Arab governments slowly warming up to the practice of funneling contributions through the United Nations, the Associated Press reported June 26.

* The estate tax bill that passed in the House could have a detrimental effect on charities because it would allow the wealthy to leave more money to their heirs without paying taxes, possibly detracting from the billions of dollars given to charities by estates each year, The New York Times reported June 29.

* As part of a settlement from a shareholder lawsuit, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison will give $100 million to the Ellison Medical Foundation, which will funnel funds to “appropriate charities,” Bloomberg news reported in The Salt Lake Tribune June 27. The settlement is not related to the $115 million Ellison promised, but has not delivered, to Harvard University more than a year ago.

* Many Red Cross chapters across the country doubled their volunteer base after Hurricane Katrina struck, with 75,000 new volunteers added to existing Red Cross rolls of 160,000 just after the hurricane, the Associated Press reported June 23.

* A donation of $1.7 million for the nation’s first chiropractic college, which was rejected by Florida State University after faculty questioned the validity of chiropractic care, was “quietly shifted” to the University of South Florida to create an endowed position in “chiropractic biomechanical research,” the St. Petersburg Times reported June 21. The donation was from the Lincoln College Education Research Fund and the Florida Chiropractic Foundation.

* United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres warns that when refugees return to their war-torn countries, they often face many problems surrounding poor infrastructure, sagging economy and lack of family support, all of which can help countries slide back into civil war, Reuters reported June 20, World Refugee Day.

* Many technology firms are stepping up to the challenge issued by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and investing in nonprofits in order to present a human face to their companies, the Washington Post reported June 17.

— Compiled by Leslie Williams

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