Nonprofit news roundup – Week of 05.28.07

* The William J. Clinton Foundation is spearheading a drive to cut urban energy use and carbon emissions linked to global warming by retrofitting aging buildings with the latest in energy-efficient upgrades, The New York Times reported May 17. Five banks will provide up to $1 billion each in loans to municipal authorities and private landlords in 16 of the  world’s biggest cities to make the upgrades, which are expected to pay for themselves with savings from reduced energy costs.

* The ruler of Dubai, and architect of its luxury-resort renaissance, has launched a $10 billion foundation from his private funds to provide scholarships and promote research in the Middle East, the Associated Press reported May 19. The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, which bears his name, aims to address what the Sheikh characterizes as “the ultimate form of negligence” — the region’s high illiteracy rate and paltry financial commitment to scientific research.

* Food banks across the nation are facing the downside of technological advances and greater supply-chain efficiency, trends that have resulted in a drop in food waste that is typically donated to the charities, The Wall Street Journal reported May 22 [subscription only]. Fewer contributions from food manufacturers and retailers have driven these clearinghouses, which stock local charity pantries and shelters, to find new ways to raise money and accept different types of food.

* True retirement may be a thing of the past, but it also is a positive development for nonprofits and other sectors with gaping workforce needs, Time Magazine reported May 10. A growing focus on “productive aging” – when the “young old” continue to produce an economic return for society – may encourage such measures as a federal health plan for those who volunteer at least 10 hours a week, or delayed retirement benefits that would push early retirees to take up a second career in easy-entry fields such as education, health care, nonprofits and civil service.

* The NAACP, the oldest American civil-rights group, has delayed its long-anticipated move from Baltimore, Maryland to Washington, D.C., due to difficulties in finding a buyer for its Baltimore property and in financing the estimated $20 million move, the Baltimore Sun reported May 22. Board members further attribute the organization’s difficulties to “abysmal fundraising” in 2006 and a leadership vacuum left by Bruce S. Gordon’s abrupt resignation as president.

* The disputed assets of the Maddox Foundation, valued at more than $100 million, will be divided between Tennessee and Mississippi charities according to the terms of a recent settlement, the Tennessean reported May 19. The step-granddaughter of late benefactors Dan and Margaret Maddox objected to the foundation’s sudden move to Mississippi shortly after the couple’s death, arguing that the money was intended to be spent on local Tennessee charities.

* Colby College in Waterville, Maine, has acquired what a Smithsonian official has called “one of the top private collections of American art anywhere,” the Portland Press Herald reported May 18. The collection, which includes more than 500 paintings, sculptures and prints by masters such as John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keefe, is a gift from Peter H. and Paula Crane Lunder.

* A $100 million gift pledged to Princeton University in 1995 by Gordon Wu, an alumnus and Hong Kong construction magnate, has been fulfilled after being delayed by the Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s, the Times of Trenton reported May 16.

* A nonprofit founded by presidential candidate John Edwards after his unsuccessful 2004 vice presidential bid may blur the lines between ordinary nonprofits and those with more political designs, Business Week reported May 28. The Center for Promise and Opportunity, now defunct, was intended to fight poverty, but some say it helped Edwards prepare for his current campaign by financing speaking tours and funneling key leaders into his presidential plans.

* UK charities increasingly are taking advantage of online social media such as blogs, YouTube videos and social networking-sites to meet the younger audience’s grower demands for greater interactivity, the Guardian reported May 17.

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