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Buffett donates $1.94 billion

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

* Billionaire Warren Buffett donated 602,500 shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock, worth $1.94 billion, to five charitable foundations, including 500,000 shares to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, completing the first part of a plan to give away most of his $43.8 billion fortune, the Associated Press reported Sept. 5.

* The Internal Revenue Service says the NAACP did not violate its tax-exempt status, which prohibits political campaigning, when its chairman, Julian Bond, gave a speech in July 2004 criticizing President Bush, The New York Times reported Aug. 31.

* Lawrence Dwain Hoover, who served on the board of the Baptist Foundation of Arizona for 20 years, pleaded guilty to a single count of fraud in a case involving one of America’s largest nonprofit bankruptcy filings, the Associated Press reported Sept. 6. Hoover faces up to 12˝ years in jail and has agreed to pay $500,000 in restitution.

* A new charity, United States Artists, will provide a $50,000 unrestricted grant to each of 50 artists chosen from an applicant pool of 300 nominees, The New York Times reported Sept. 5. The applicants have been nominated by 150 anonymous American art leaders and will be judged by a panel of artists, critics and scholars.

* Chief executives at charitable hospitals in Massachusetts received overall compensation of more than $1 million for the first time in fiscal year 2005, drawing criticism from the state’s largest healthcare union, although hospital board members say high compensation is required to retain and reward talented leaders, The Boston Globe reported Aug. 31.

* After more than 50 years, Magen David Adom, an Israeli humanitarian relief society, and the Palestinian Red Crescent, have joined the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, The Washington Post reported Aug. 31.

* Ohio state and federal officials agreed that all state employees, not just active churchgoers, should be able to divert their union dues to any charity, secular or religious, when they have religious objections as to how union money is being spent, The Columbus Dispatch reported Sept. 2.

* Dr. Gasper Lazzara, a Florida donor who originally promised $95.7 million over 30 years to the University of Colorado to build and sustain a new dental school, has reneged after making only one payment, and as a result has jeopardized tuition rates, The Denver Post reported Sept. 1.

* Illustrating the increasing trend of fundraising through online auctions of celebrity charitable gifts, billionaire Warren Buffet has donated his 2001 Lincoln Town Car to an eBay auction opening Sept. 12 to raise money for Girls Inc., The New York Times reported Sept. 3.

* Family-finance experts say inheritances are decreasing as seniors spend money more quickly, live longer, spend more on health care, and as their pensions and Social Security are paid in monthly installments designed to last no longer than a lifetime, Kiplinger reported in its September issue.

* Competition for planned gifts is strong among private foundations, community foundations and commercial donor-advised funds, but such organizations should support the greater public good by focusing on their own work rather than on undercutting the competition, Daniel Schley, chairman and CEO of Foundation Source wrote in an opinion column in the Aug. 28 issue of Business Week.

* Support is decreasing in Oregon and throughout the U.S. for the small-schools movement that became popular in 2004 and calls for dividing large high schools into smaller schools of 300 students studying similar academic disciplines, The New York Times reported Aug. 30. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has reduced its financial backing and critics say the movement is resulting in few improvements.

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