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Katrina Fund loses religious leaders, director amid dispute

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

* Following allegations that the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund’s board undermined the recommendations of a nine-person multi-faith committee, seven of the religious leaders have resigned from the committee and the fund’s executive director, Mary Ann Wyrsch, has stepped down, the Washington Post reported July 14.

* For the past year, residents of a low-income neighborhood in Chicago have participated in “Pathways to Rewards,” a program allowing them to earn points for things like paying rent on time and looking for a job, The Wall Street Journal reported July 7.  Points earned can be used for prizes like DVD players or bill payment, earning mixed reactions from people who argue over the merits of being rewarded for “doing the right thing.”

* A congressional report on the Bush administration’s program supporting church-run social service initiatives states the program lacks safeguards to prevent religious discrimination, allowing for the possibility of denying services based on religious affiliation, The New York Times reported July 19.

* Some nonprofit hospital leaders appear to have relationships with companies that sell them drugs, devices and services that range from paid advisor to board member, although the ties often go undisclosed, The New York Times reported July 17.

* Some companies offer sabbaticals that allow employees to volunteer on the company dime, often providing valuable expertise to initiatives in developing nations at little or no cost and giving the employee the chance to reenergize, The Wall Street Journal reported July 17.

* Many organizations are trying to fight poverty in developing countries by creating jobs that pay a modest increase over average wages, arguing that more production sites will eventually drive wages up along with the demand for workers, The New York Times reported July 16.

* Corcoran Gallery of Art director Paul Greenhalgh, in his third month at the Washington, D.C., gallery, has undertaken a major overhaul at the museum to clean the structure, turn it into a “think tank” and display more provocative art, the Washington Post reported July 15.

* Social networking site MySpace.com is teaming up with Seventeen magazine to encourage public service by holding a contest for member-generated public service announcements promoting social activism, the Washington Post reported July 5.

* According to tax filings, Stanford University paid a third of its legal fees to a law firm headed by a Stanford trustee during the 2003-04 fiscal year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported July 2. The relationship, which experts say is ethically troublesome, was one of four listed by the university as a potential conflict of interest.

— Compiled by Leslie Williams.

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