Nonprofit news roundup for March 13, 2008

Museums adjust to new trends

Gathering data about museum-goers has become more popular and sophisticated than ever before. Eli Broad’s decision to lend his collection out to multiple museums is heading up a small trend among art collectors museums fear may grow. Art museum directors complete pet projects, then depart. These are the lead articles of a New York Times special section on museum trends published March 12.

Latin American immigrants send less money home

A struggling economy is impacting the amount of money Latin American immigrants are sending home, The Los Angeles Times reported March 12. Rising gas and food prices, a construction industry slowdown and increasing workplace job raids are chipping away at the $66.5 billion in Latin American remittances, which constitutes as much as 43 percent of the national gross domestic product in countries like Guyana.

Abercrombie & Fitch donation raises protests

Children’s advocates are challenging the renaming of the Columbus Children’s Hospital emergency ward after retail clothing chain Abercrombie & Fitch, The New York Times reported March 12. The name change comes after the retailer donated $10 million to the hospital, but opponents argue its messaging, which includes provocative advertising and revealing clothing, is at odds with the hospital’s mission.

Philanthropic diversity should be voluntary

Diversity in philanthropy is best achieved voluntarily, Robert K. Ross, chief executive of the California Endowment, says in an opinion column March 12 in the Mercury News. Poverty, equity and opportunity are the real issues in California’s underserved communities, Ross says, and reducing diversity in private foundations to a “mechanistic and mandatory numbers game” as recent California legislation threatens to do will not solve these problems.

Charity helps rich kids value money

Donating to charity can instill the value of money in wealthy children, say financial advisors, who also use board games and stock market contests to instill in kids a sense of money, The Wall Street Journal reported March 12 [subscription only].

Residency rule costs Detroit nonprofits millions

A city residency requirement for board members has disqualified more than 100 Detroit nonprofits from receiving important federal funding, The Detroit Free Press reported March 11. At least 51 percent of the board of organizations that get Community Development Block Grants, nearly $40 million annually in Detroit, must now be city residents.

Houston police steal from Red Cross

Two Houston police officers have been accused of stealing more than $100,000 from the Red Cross, The Houston Chronicle reported March 11. The officers billed the charity $166,000 for a two-week basketball camp for Katrina victims that lasted only two days.

Israelis believe philanthropy is self-interested

Two-thirds of the non-religious Jewish population in Israel believes philanthropists give to further their own self-interest, Ha’aretz reported March 9. Non-religious Jews, ultra-Orthodox and Arab populations all had an overwhelmingly positive view of philanthropists, however, in the recent study by Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Center for the Study of Philanthropy.

Bill would allow for-profit debt firms in Md.

Recent legislation would allow a for-profit company to begin operating in Maryland’s credit counseling industry, which has long been dominated by nonprofits, The Washington Post reported March 11. Maryland is one of a handful of states that do not allow for-profit companies to counsel consumers who are already deep in debt.

Local United Way audit pinches small nonprofits

Many nonprofits will no longer take money from a local United Way, wrote Joe DePriest in a Charlotte Observer opinion column March 9. A new rule at the United Way of Gaston County that requires grantees to have an annual independent audit makes accepting United Way funding too costly and complicated, some say.

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