Nonprofit news roundup – Week of 08.20.07

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

* CARE, one of the world’s biggest charities, has turned down $45 million a year in funding from the U.S. government, saying the federal food-aid program is inefficient and harmful in some cases, the New York Times reported August 16.  The charity criticized the government’s practice of purchasing heavily subsidized agricultural products from U.S. farms, then donating them to aid groups, which then raise money by selling the goods in developing countries, creating competition for struggling local farmers.

* Efforts spurred by British religious leaders and major U.S. environmental groups are narrowing the divide between global-warming activists and American evangelicals, with some pastors and parishioners emerging as advocates for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and affecting climate change, The Washington Post reported August 8.

* Typically exempt from state open-records laws, some nonprofits, particularly public university foundations like the one affiliated with New Mexico State University, are facing pressure from the media to release donor information to the public, Las Cruces Sun-News reported August 7.  Some lawmakers say the NMSU Foundation should make public donor records since it has decided to contribute to the compensation of NMSU’s president and former basketball coach.

* While acknowledging the difficulty of appropriately allocating funds to victims of Hurricane Katrina, little-known Red Cross organization Means to Recovery has received criticism for its alleged lack of advertising and obstructions in the application process, The New York Times reported August 10.

* Johnson & Johnson has filed suit against the American Red Cross for its use of J&J’s trademark red-cross logo on first aid kits and other products sold to the public, pointing out that Red Cross founder Clara Barton signed a deal with J&J in 1895 agreeing to the company’s exclusive use of the symbol, Reuters reported August 9.

* James M. Hobbins, a top Smithsonian official, has resigned after acknowledging he destroyed transcripts from a January meeting during which regents discussed the personal expenses of then-secretary, Lawrence M. Small, The Washington Post reported August 8. Hobbins disposed of the documents after a Smithsonian general counsel gave notice to retain them for investigation.

* As the demand for undergraduate study abroad opportunities increases, many of the overseas programs involve arrangements between universities and other vendors that end up channeling money away from students and into college coffers, while increasing students’ costs and limiting their options, The New York Times reported August 13.

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