Target bans bell-ringers, donates $1 million

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

* For the third consecutive year, Target is banning the Salvation Army’s bell-ringers from its store’s properties, BusinessWeek reported Nov. 15. The company plans to make up some of the charity’s lost revenue by donating $1 million, in addition to the profits generated from selling Salvation Army ornaments and not including a link to Salvation Army donations on its website, officials say.

* More than seven in 10 Americans think charities waste money, up from six in 10 three years ago, says a new survey by New York University, The Washington Post reported Nov. 19. The public is increasingly suspicious of large national nonprofits such as United Way, the Nature Conservancy and the Red Cross, which all have been implicated in recent scandals, the survey says.

* A new book by Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, argues that religious conservatives donate far more money to charity than secular liberals, irrespective of income, the Newhouse News Service reported Nov. 14. In his book, “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism,” Brooks, who was raised in a liberal household and has been a registered Democrat, Republican and now independent, argues that values advocated by conservatives make them more generous than liberals.

* After an eight-year break, the celebrity fundraising telethon for the homeless, Comic Relief, is back, with Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg taking the stage to raise funds for Hurricane Katrina victims, the Associated Press reported Nov. 16. Comic Relief founder and President Bob Zmuda said he decided to revive the telethon after he was caught in the 2004 Asian tsunami while on vacation in Thailand.

* A group of prominent scientists and advocates of the separation between church and state have announced the formation of a Washington D.C.-based think tank to promote “rationalism” as the basis of public policy, in response to concerns that discussion of science and secularism is diminishing in the White House, on Capital Hill and in American culture, The Washington Post reported Nov. 15.

* The University of Massachusetts and the Chinese Ministry of Education are collaborating on the formation of the University of Massachusetts Confucius Institute, a nonprofit public institute designed to promote the Chinese language and culture, The Boston Globe reported Nov. 20. China, which currently has seven similar institutes in the United States and plans to create 100 worldwide by 2010, has granted U-Mass $1 million to establish the institution, officials say.

* The launch of the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine, scheduled for Nov. 30, is an acknowledgment by the established medical community of the potential, yet controversial, benefits of alternative medicine, including meditation, yoga and acupuncture, Forbes reported Nov. 20. The Duke Center, which will be open to everyone and not just members of the Duke community, was founded and financed by Christy Mack, who is involved in movements to blend treatments aimed at helping the mind and spirit with the use of conventional medicine, and her husband John Mack, chairman of Morgan Stanley.

* Diagnosed in 2004 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the disease he had long been studying, neurologist Richard K. Olney and his family set up the Richard Olney Endowment with the hope of raising $10 million to support research on ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 21. Despite widespread publicity, Olney has raised $200,000 for the ALS Treatment and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisicso, which he founded in 1993, illustrating the difficulty of raising funds to support research for rare diseases.

* Since Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank microfinance organization won the Nobel Peace Prize last month, lenders, insurers, microcredit groups and nongovernmental organizations are finding ways to combine philanthropy with the promise of new banking clients, and are attending conferences such as the Global Microcredit Summit in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that took place earlier this month, Reuters reported Nov. 15.

— Compiled by Laura Newman

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