Nonprofit news roundup week of 07.02.07

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

* A portion of the $1.3 million raised in 2005 by The Center for Promise and Opportunity, a North Carolina-based nonprofit created by Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, was used to finance travel and staff for the Edwards campaign, The New York Times reported June 22.  Edwards says the center’s activities were legal and that he did not exploit the nonprofit for campaign funding, the Associated Press reported June 24.

* In an attempt to reach younger audiences, gain insight into the virtual world and eventually begin making grants through the internet, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has given $550,000 to the Center on Public Policy at the University of Southern California to stage events in virtual exploration, The New York Times reported June 22.  The initiative will use Second Life, a virtual world on the Internet, to host discussions and examine the role of online philanthropy.

* Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu, now the world’s second-richest man, says he will contribute $100 million to the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, a project begun by former President Bill Clinton’s foundation, Forbes reported June 21.  The project aims to address social, economic and environmental issues in Latin America and the developing world.

* The public now is able to play a direct role in awarding Case Foundation grants by sending in their ideas for community improvement, The New York Times reported June 26.  The program, similar to attempts by other foundations to expand influence and experiment with new ideas and technology, will name 20 finalists to receive $10,000 each and four to receive an additional $25,000.

* Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway who already has pledged to donate 85 percent of his shares in Berkshire Hathaway to charity, says he expects the world to become more philanthropic as the wealthy donate more of their assets, Bloomberg reported June 25.  Buffett,.

* Following the resignation of Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence M. Small, officials now say Small’s paid seat on the board of the museum’s insurer, Chubb Group, led the Smithsonian to move from one kind of insurance to another, The Washington Post reported June 26.  A committee reviewing the Smithsonian’s management problems says it was a conflict of interest for Small to sit on the board of Chubb while serving as the Smithsonian’s top official.

* Google has launched the Google Outreach Program, which will use free software composed of maps and satellite images to help nonprofit groups expand their influence and increase their fundraising, The Boston Globe reported on June 27.  Groups such as the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum have already been using Google Earth to spread awareness about needs in places like Darfur, Sudan.

* The New Hampshire Center for nonprofits has begun the Nonprofit Primary Project to create alliances between presidential candidates and nonprofit leaders, the Associated Press reported June 27.  The center hopes the effort will help candidates see the lack of resources in the nonprofit sector.

* This year, the Mellon family and the Heinz family, two of Pittsburgh’s wealthiest and most famous, will receive Andrew Carnegie Medals of Philanthropy, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported June 19.  Giving by the Heinz family has leaned toward the arts and environment, while the Mellon family has supported the arts, education and biotechnology.

–Compiled by Angela Strader

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