Clinton effort raises $7.3 billion

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

* Former President Bill Clinton’s second annual Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together leaders committed to helping alleviate poverty, disease, conflict and climate change, announced pledges of $7.3 billion in global aid, The New York Times reported Sept. 23.

* Columbia University is launching a $4 billion capital campaign, the biggest ever in U.S. higher education, and already has raised $1.6 billion cash and pledges in a quiet phase that began two years ago, The Wall Street Journal reported Sept. 29.

* A new campaign, “Generous Nation,” is being launched through television, radio, print and online advertisements by the Advertising Council, a nonprofit organization that coordinates pro-bono campaigns on behalf of the agency and media industries, to encourage Americans to act on their charitable intentions, The New York Times reported Sept. 25. The campaign, with the theme “Don’t almost give. Give,” is the first for which Ad Council itself is serving as the sponsor.

* Former entrepreneurs John and Jacque Weberg pledged $50 million over 10 years to Opportunity International, a nonprofit dedicated to microfinance, the practice of granting small loans to poor individuals and groups to help them run their own businesses and escape poverty, Business Week reported Sept. 20. The gift is the largest single private donation to a microfinance organization, attracting attention to the practice.

* Salaries for top executives at nonprofits increased 4.8 percent last year to a median of roughly $330,000, with some earning over $1 million, says a survey by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Reuters reported Sept. 25. The median salary remains significantly below private-sector executives, who earn a median of $2.4 million, according to Forbes magazine.

* More than 30 supporters of the American Civil Liberties Union, including donors, former board and staff members and lawyers, are asking for the ouster of the organization’s leadership, saying current unnamed leaders are not adhering to the union’s principles, The New York Times reported Sept. 26.

* Community foundations are increasingly investing in hedge funds, although on average they are investing moderate amounts, according to a new study by the Council on Foundations, the Chicago Tribute reported Sept. 21. In 2005, 46 percent of community foundations invested in hedge funds, compared to 26 percent in 2003, and the average investment consisted of 6.9 percent of their assets, the study says.

* To prevent funds from being illegally diverted to militants, Kuwaiti authorities have strengthened their scrutiny of fundraising by Islamic charities during the month of Ramadan, when charitable donations are more common, The Kuwait Times reported Sept. 25.

* Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt each donated $1 million to two humanitarian organizations, Global Action for Children and Doctors Without Borders, the Associated Press reported Sept. 20.

* One in three people in Britain would sue a charity if they hurt themselves at an event on the charity’s premises, says a survey conducted for the insurer Royal & Sun Alliance, The Guardian Unlimited reported Sept. 22. People over age 50 and Londoners were the most likely to seek compensation, the survey says.

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