Nonprofit news roundup for Feb. 25, 2008

Nonprofits go for profit

A new breed of social entrepreneurs is driving the incorporation of some of capitalism’s values into traditional philanthropy, The New York Times reported Feb. 24. By going for-profit, groups like ePals, which offers Web-based collaborative projects for classroom use, can more easily attract financing for broad social change.

California foundation diversity bill misguided?

The California law that would mandate diversity reporting among the state’s three dozen larger foundations is a “crude yardstick,” The Mercury News in San Jose, Calif, said in an editorial Feb. 22. The foundations say the bill will not help show whether diverse communities are being adequately served and does not ask the more important question of whether foundation grants are effective.

Nonprofit education booms

Nonprofit-related courses are drawing record numbers of business-school students, and nonprofit professionals are increasingly going back to school for management degrees, as the lines between business and philanthropy blur, The Financial Times reported Feb. 5. Though few MBA students join nonprofits right after graduation, many continue to pursue social entrepreneurship.

Islamic charities face further scrutiny

Islamic charities are facing a second round of scrutiny as U.S. and Middle Eastern counterterrorism officials pursue key donors and fundraisers they say escaped the original post-9/11 dragnet, The Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 23. But little evidence of direct links between charity and terrorism has emerged and some believe the government is over-reaching.

Countess funds Philadelphia Orchestra’s North Korea concert

Lady Yoko Nagae Ceschina is funding the Philadelphia Orchestra’s controversial trip to North Korea, The Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 22 [subscription only]. The Japanese-born countess, who inherited her nearly $190 million fortune from her late husband, Italian Count Renzo Ceschina, is a loyal patron of musicians like conductor Valery Gergiev and Russian violinist Maxim Vengerov.

Google, Cleveland Clinic give patients more control

Google and the Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit academic medical center, are piloting a program to give patients more control over their online medical records, The Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 21 [subscription only]. The effort is part of a larger push to use technology to improve patient control over their medical information.

Biotech foundation promotes interest in sciences

The Invitrogen Foundation aims to increase understanding of the life sciences and encourage careers in biotechnology, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Feb. 22. The foundation is the philanthropic branch of Invitrogen, a Carlsbad, Calif.-based that makes tools for biotechnology and drug researchers.

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