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Nonprofit news roundup for Feb. 29, 2008

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Foundations address foreclosures

The foreclosure crisis is attracting some of the wealthiest U.S. foundations, which are struggling to find effective solutions, The Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 28 [subscription only]. Dollar amounts committed by groups like the Ford Foundation and Living Cities, a consortium of major funders working in inner cities, are relatively small, but could provide quicker funding than federal solutions.

Art gift prompts call for philanthropy

Art lovers are calling for greater efforts to encourage private philanthropy in the wake of one of the largest and most creative gifts ever made to a British art museum, The Financial Times reported Feb. 28. Gallery owner Anthony d’Offay gave his $247 million art collection, to be jointly held by the National Galleries of Scotland and the Tate galleries, and in return received over $50 million, the original cost of the works.

New York hospital, school split $50M

Two New York health-care facilities will split a $50 million gift from Revlon cosmetics magnate Ronald Perelman, The Boston Globe reported Feb. 28. The money will go towards heart care and reproductive medicine research at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and its affiliated school, the Weill Cornell Medical College.

Guggenheim director steps down

The Soloman R. Guggenheim Foundation’s controversial director, Thomas Krens, will step down, The New York Times reported Feb. 28. Krens, whose ambitious international expansion caused controversy, will remain at the foundation as a senior advisor for international affairs.

Diabetes group under investigation

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International is under investigation by Manhattan’s district attorney over hundreds of thousands of dollars in missing funds, The New York Times reported Feb. 28. The foundation’s president announced his retirement earlier this month.

Clinton overlaps husband’s philanthropy

Actions by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, a U.S. senator, are seen to intersect once again with her husband’s philanthropic interests, The New York Times reported Feb. 28.  Sen. Clinton promoted billions of dollars in federal incentives for ethanol, a renewable energy source and a popular investment among her husband’s friends and her political supporters.

Royal Society takes on enterprise

Britain’s national academy of sciences is creating an enterprise fund to invest in early-stage business ventures founded on new technology such as carbon capture, renewable energy, and water purification, The Financial Times reported Feb. 28. The Royal Society has traditionally limited its reach to academic research and teaching.

Yunus promotes social business

Capitalism takes too narrow a view of human desire, microcredit pioneer Muhammad Yunus said in an opinion column Feb. 15 in The Christian Science Monitor. The Nobel Peace Prize winner said social businesses, which aim to maximize benefits to society while earning enough only to cover costs, can alleviate poverty while playing on an untapped human impulse to do good.

Jobs, not philanthropy, for Russia

Marina Pustilnik is wary of philanthropy but wants Russia’s billionaires, second in numbers only to their American counterparts, to give back to their country “by investing beyond the extraction industries,” the Moscow News columnist wrote in an opinion column in The Moscow News on Feb. 21. Instead of “milking” the country of its national resources, Russia’s oligarchs should focus on creating jobs, she says.

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