Pakistani charity eyed in terror probe

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

* British and Pakistani officials are investigating whether the Britons suspected of conspiring to blow up commercial airplanes planes may have received money raised for earthquake relief by a Pakistani charity that is a front for an Islamic militant group, The New York Times reported Aug. 14.

* Some AIDS groups are criticizing a proposal in Congress to require that more of the federal funds spend on insured AIDS patients go to drugs and physician visits, arguing it will force reductions in basis services like meals and housing, Reuters reported Aug. 10.

* The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is giving $500 million to an international fund that provides AIDS assistance in poor countries, the Associated Press reported Aug. 9.

* The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation plans to double its staff to roughly 600 people over the next two years to handle a $31 billion gift from Warren Buffett, who will make the contribution in annual increments on the condition that, starting in 2009, the foundation give away every nickel he contributed the previous year, The New York Times reported Aug. 13.

* The Ford Foundation, Calvert Social Investment Foundation and Public Radio aim to raise $15 million over the next year from individuals and institutions for a new fund that will invest directly in public radio stations, the Associated Press reported Aug. 9.

* The IRS plans to audit a Utah foundation that channeled tax-deductible contributions from the family of Mike Leavitt, U.S. secretary of health and human services, through Southern Utah University back to the Leavitts in the form of student rent for family-owned apartments, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Aug. 9.

* With a growing number of celebrities focusing their charity on Africa, the region is attracting a growing number of student volunteers and charitable contributions, The New York Times reported Aug. 13.

Dikembe Mutombo, center for the NBA’s Houston Rockets, has given $15 million to help build a hospital in his native Congo, USA Today reported Aug. 15.

* Private donors have contributed over $100 million in recent years to support stem-cell research in California, The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 16.

* Nonprofits, once reluctant to accept real-estate donations for fear of getting stuck with land that was not marketable or because they lacked expertise to handle land deals, now are developing marketing programs targeting World War II-era property owners and Baby Boomers who are looking to give their land to charity to avoid or reduce taxes as the value of their real estate soars, The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 16.

* A probate judge in Indiana named two relatives of Ruth Lilly as her guardians after testimony that the heiress to the Lilly pharmaceutical fortune is incapacitated and cannot make decisions herself, The Indianapolis Star reported Aug. 8.

* Northeastern University and the Museum of Science, both in Boston, received grants of $20 million each from the Gordon Foundation, the biggest donations ever to either institution, the Associated Press reported Aug. 10.

* A report from the Centre for Policy Studies in Britain says state funding for British charities is outpacing donations from the general public, putting the independence of the voluntary sector at risk, The Guardian reported Aug. 10.

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