Big funders making small grants

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

* While the idea of bigger donations is getting a boost from a new generation of philanthropists, a new study by the Center for Effective Philanthropy in Cambridge, Mass., says many foundations continue to think small, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 8. The median grant in a two-year period among foundations surveyed totaled totaling $50,000.

* Baby Boomers in the U.S. are expected to donate roughly $100 billion to charity this year, up 25 percent from 2005, says a new study by Opinion Research Corp. that was commissioned by the Fidelity Investments, reported Dec. 7.

* The emerging trend of for-profit philanthropy made big advances in 2006 with the and the announcement by Virgin founder Richard Branson that he would invest $3 billion in the clean-energy industry, The New York Times reported Dec. 10. Two law professors at the University of Chicago wrote in a recent paper that for-profit charity may deserve its own tax benefits, the Times said.

* Arts benefactors and institutions fear donations of art could be hurt by a new provision that tightened rules for “partial gifts,” in which collectors may “donate” works to museums in phases over a period of years while keeping the paintings or sculptures in their living rooms, The New York Times reported Dec. 10. As the works gain in value, so does the tax deduction for each partial gift.

* Melinda Gates, who with her husband, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is emerging as an outspoken advocate for closing the global health gap, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 11. Her latest effort is an expanded initiative with President Bush and first lady Laura Bush’s summit on fighting malaria.

* Well-known micro-lending operations overseas are profitable, with administrative costs more than covered by interested charged on loans, but micro-lending operations in the U.S. lose money and require traditional donations to keep going, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 6.

* A new report says distribution of the world’s wealth has become more narrowly concentrated than income, The New York Times reported Dec. 6. The top 1 percent of the world’s population in 2000, or 37 million adults with a net worth of at least $515,000, accounted for roughly 40 percent of the world’s net worth, while the bottom half owned only 1.1 percent, says the report by the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University.

* Gross domestic product for nonprofits in Canada grew at an average annual rate of 6.4 percent between 1997 and 2003 to over $80.3 billion, compared to 5.6 percent for Canada’s economy overall, says a new report by Statistics Canada, The Globe and Mail reported Dec. 8.

* The International Committee of the Red Cross has set a goal for 2007 of raising 1 billion Swiss francs, or $800 million, to fund its worldwide operations, BBC News reported Dec. 7.

* British donors gave an estimated 8.9 billion pounds in 2005-06, or nearly $17.4 billion, according to data from the Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organizations, Reuters reported Dec. 6.

* A study by the UCLA Center for Civil Society says the nonprofit arts community in Los Angeles favors haves or have-nots and likely cannot support continued growth, the Los Angeles Times reported Dec. 6. The study cites a “disconnect between the local nonprofit arts community and the for-profit entertainment industry.”

* Miami-Dade County was home to 7,354 organizations in May 2006, or roughly 9 percent of the county’s 83,000 corporations, and provided an estimated 76,741 jobs, according to a study by the Dade Community Foundation and the Beacon Foundation, The Miami Herald reported Dec. 2.

* A seminar financed by the Brennan Family Foundation of Ohio at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., lets students award $10,000 to nonprofits they choose after researching prospective recipients, The New York Times reported Dec. 2.

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