* British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Earth Challenge will award $25 million to anyone who finds a way to remove at least a billion tons of carbon dioxide a year from the atmosphere, the Washington Post reported Feb. 10.
* President Bush plans to increase funding for America’s national parks by as much as $3 billion over the next decade through a mixture of public and private funding, the Washington Post reported Feb. 8.
* British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced a plan to help boost the endowments of elite British universities to rival those of their American counterparts, the Observer reported Feb. 11.
* Glenn D. Lowry, director of New York City’s Museum of Modern Art and highest-paid museum executive in the U.S., for the past eight years has received more than his $1.28 million compensation package, thanks to the New York Fine Arts Support Trust, the New York Times reported Feb. 16.
* The Prescription Project, a joint endeavor of Boston-based advocacy group Community Catalyst and Columbia University’s Institute on Medicine as a Profession, seeks to cut ties between doctors and drug companies, the New York Times reported Feb. 12.
* Michel Kazatchkine, France’s AIDS ambassador and a Harvard-educated doctor, will take over leadership of the $7 billion Global Fund to Fight AIDs, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Boston Globe reported Feb. 9.
* Houston arts patron Mary Cain will donate $100 million to the John Motley Morehead Foundation to increase the number of Morehead Scholarships it offers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 15 [subscribers only]. Following the recent trend of collaborative giving sparked by Warren Buffet’s June 2006 donation to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Cain decided to support the Morehead Foundation, funder of the nation’s oldest merit scholarship, rather than start her own program.
* Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain says London firms should donate two-thirds of their bonus pools to charity, the BBC reported Feb. 10. Hain condemned the loss of a “sense of moral corporate responsibility” and hinted at potential tax hikes or new laws should businesses fail to tone down their end-of-the-year bonus awards, which totaled 8.8 billion pounds in 2006.
* After a year-long legal dispute, Fisk University obtained a settlement that will allow the university to sell two prominent paintings from its Stieglitz Collection, if no donor steps forward within 30 days to keep them at Fisk, the New York Times reported Feb. 16. The historically black university received 101 paintings from photographer Alfred Stieglitz’s personal collection in a 1946 gift from his widow, Georgia O’Keefe, but has since been unable to maintain the collection as its endowment dwindles.