Nonprofit news roundup – Week of 07.30.07

Here are the week’s nonprofit stories reported elsewhere:

* Although hospitals of all kinds have seen profits grow in recent years, federal and state officials are concerned nonprofit hospitals aren’t providing enough care to the destitute in return for the tax breaks they receive, The Wall Street Journal reported July 20 (subscription only).  The Congressional Budget Office says nonprofit hospitals provide only slightly more uncompensated care than do for-profit hospitals, but receive millions more in tax breaks.

* After being scrutinized by lawmakers for investing in hedge funds managed by its leaders and supporters, The Robin Hood Foundation announced it will remove assets from such funds, Bloomberg reported July 19.  While Robin Hood says 100 percent of donations are distributed to community groups, the foundation’s executive director, David Saltzman, says the decision to end the hedge fund practice was made to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

* Although University of Iowa faculty still have concerns about naming the College of Public Health after a corporation, the college’s faculty has approved a resolution to reconsider the $15 million naming gift from Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Des Moines Register reported July 17.

* Old parking meters in Montreal’s downtown area are being turned into a charity project, the proceeds of which will benefit L’ltineraire, a charity started by former drug addicts and homeless people in 1990, The Chronicle Journal reported July 26.  Benoit Labonte, mayor of the downtown borough and the creative mind behind the project, wanted an original idea that would increase awareness of homelessness.

* By disclosing where they have gone wrong in their projects and programs, nonprofits and foundations can ensure transparency and prevent others from making similar mistakes, The New York Times reported July 26.  The Carnegie Corporation and the James Irvine Foundation are among the foundations beginning to open up about unsuccessful efforts.

* Steve Coll, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and former managing editor of The Washington Post, will take over the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan public policy institute that generates ideas concerning areas such as health care policy and the student loan industry, The New York Times reported July 23.

* For recent graduates contemplating career paths, service programs like the Peace Corps and Teach for America are gaining popularity, with U.S. undergraduates this year ranking the two groups among their top 10 prospective employers, The Wall Street Journal reported July 24 (subscription only).  At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, about 80 seniors are joining one of the two groups this year.

* Nonprofit board members are in high demand, with plenty of ways for even the inexperienced to become involved on the board of a charitable organization, the Financial Times reported July 20.  By targeting a group with a shared passion, and by volunteering first, boards may be more accessible now than in the past.

* In response to negative feedback from consultants on the performance of Smithsonian museum stores and a recommendation for restructuring, the Smithsonian is considering outsourcing management of the stores, The Washington Post reported July 25.  Bids to manage the nearly 30 stores will be accepted from mid-August through late September.

* At a time when a leading British charity says that the gap between rich and poor is at its greatest in 40 years, Scottish businessman Tom Hunter pledged to donate one billion pounds, or $2.03 billion, during his lifetime to benefit charitable causes in Britain and abroad, Reuters reported July 18.

–Compiled by Angela Strader

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