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Nonprofit news headlines – Week of 04.16.07

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

* The scandal at the Smithsonian Institution keeps getting worse.

After concluding from an internal probe in 2003 that top supervisors used government workers and materials for personal projects, the inspector general’s office at the Smithsonian referred allegations of “embezzlement and conversion of public money and property” against the supervisors to federal prosecutors, who declined prosecution “in favor of administrative action,” the Washington Post reported April 10. An administrative review resulted in not written disciplinary action, the Post said.

The Post reported April 11 that the Smithsonian last year renewed a big insurance contract with the Chubb Group while Lawrence Small, at the time the Smithsonian CEO, and his deputy held highly-paid seats on Chubb’s board.

And The New York Times reported April 12 that senators scolded the Smithsonian, saying it risks losing support from lawmakers and the public if it does not create a more accountable management structure.

The most effective fundraisers in higher education can focus on major donors, enjoy more staff support and often get performance-based incentive pay, a new report by research and consulting firm Eduventures Inc. says, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported.

* Columbia University was set to announce one of the biggest gifts ever to U.S. university, a $400 million gift from 92-year-old John Walter Kluge to support financial aid for students, The New York Times reported April 11.

* The Cleveland Foundation and the Gund Foundation, also in Cleveland, say they will begin awarding construction grants onloy to building or renovation projects considered environmentally-friendly, the Association Press reported April 3.

* With 2.8 billion people, or nearly half the world’s population, living on $2 a day or less, business can profit while serving the poorest consumers and contributing to developing if it pursues its own self-interest in opening and expanding the “bottom-of-the-pyramid” market,” said an article published April 4 in Working Knowledge, a publication of Harvard Business School.

* Jeffrey Sachs, special adviser to the United Nations secretary general, says wealthy philanthropists have the potential to do more than the Group of Eight leading nations to lift Africa out of poverty, The Financial Times reported April 8.

* CQ HealthBeat reported April 6 that Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, has asked the Government Accountability Office for a probe into how nonprofit hospitals comply with laws that require them to provide community benefits in exchange for tax-exempt status and other tax breaks, kaisernetwork.org reports.

* The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is launching a $100 million effort to support research to spur policies to reduce global warming, The New York Times reported April 9.

* Edgar M. Bronfman, chief patron for the World Jewish Congress, accused the organization’s former leader, Israel Singer, of misusing money and concealing “significant information,” The New York Times reported April 6.

* Pope Benedict XVI says that in addition to focusing on competition and productivity, workers also must make room for charity and defending human dignity, Catholic News Service reported April 1.

* Following the lead of Harvard, top schools like Stanford, Notre Dame and MIT have won permission from the IRS to let donors invest with the schools’ endowments, The Wall Street Journal reported March 24 (registration required).

* Milton J. Little Jr., CEO of United Way of Massachusetts Bay, has been named CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, The Boston Globe reported April 12.

The top 100 philanthropists in China donated a total of 9.5 billion yan, or $1.2 billion, in the four years starting in 2003, new agency Xinhua reported April 12.

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