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Nonprofit news roundup – Week of 07.23.07

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Here are the week’s top nonprofit stories reported elsewhere

* As private student loans are growing an average of 27 percent a year, university fundraisers fear a larger drop in the amount donated by young graduates, The Boston Globe reported July 9.  The trend also could lead to greater separation between the richest and poorest schools, experts say.

* The Wellmark Foundation withdrew its $15 million gift to the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa after faculty voted against renaming the college after private insurer Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, DesMoinesRegister.com reported July 9.  The dean of the college and its faculty say such a link could hurt research and be construed as a conflict of interest.

* The Robin Hood Foundation is under scrutiny from federal lawmakers who are concerned about the group’s rainy-day fund of $144.5 million, half of which is invested in hedge funds run by foundation board members or donors who reap a hefty 20 percent of profits, Bloomberg reported July 16.

* A new report says Charity giving in the U.K. rose by 8.6 percent to 10.9 billion pounds or $22.38 billion, in 2005-06 BBC News reported July 16.  World disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunami fueled some of the growth, but gifts to the nation’s top 500 charities, especially those involved in cancer research, increased as well.

* A new study by researchers at Stanford and Princeton universities says some alumni give to their alma maters in hopes of increasing the chance of admission to the schools for their children, Slate reported July 6.  The study says evidence shows that families give more as their children reach application age, and tends to end if their child is not admitted.

* By monitoring web channels set up to trade stolen credit card and identity information, Internet-security company Symantec claims that Internet frauds are donating money to charity to see if stolen credit cards can actually be used, and therefore resold, InformationWeek reported July 6.

* With a $917 million portfolio of disease-prevention projects, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s latest HIV-prevention efforts has failed in clinical trials, raising further concerns that more money should be going to drug treatments for those already afflicted, rather than to prevention, The Wall Street Journal reported July 13 (subscription only).

* Habitat for Humanity International is asking its 1,600 U.S. affiliates to sign an agreement that creates a quality-control checklist and authorizes that a cut of each donation earmarked to an affiliate goes to headquarters, The New York Times reported July 18.  More than a dozen affiliates plan to reject the agreement, while staff members from others have resigned over the proposed changes.

* Through the Battery Park City Authority, three nonprofits will rent space in Riverhouse, a luxury condominium in South Manhattan, for $1 a year until 2069 through the authority’s public amenity program, The New York Times reported July 18.  These nonprofits will have to raise millions of dollars to build their spaces, however.

* A joint venture between the web-based youth volunteerism organization Do Something and corporate partner JPMorgan has produced a new kind of video game called Karma Tycoon, designed to instruct school-age kids in topics like social entrepreneurship and the mechanics of philanthropy, The Wall Street Journal reported July 13.

–Compiled by Angela Strader

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