Nonprofit news roundup for March 14, 2008

New York nonprofits under investigation

A spate of embezzlers has New York City’s Department of Investigation mounting two efforts targeting nonprofits to prevent further misuse of public money, reported March 10. Investigators are scrutinizing at least 30 nonprofits and plan to send out a self-reporting exercise next month to help nonprofits identify poor financial controls.

Vick exposes animal-rights divide

Quarterback Michael Vick’s dog-fighting case has brought to light a widening divide within the animal-rights community over the treatment of abused, high-risk animals, New York Times columnist William Rhoden said in an opinion column March 12. Groups like PETA insist the animals should be euthanized, while others fight for rehabilitation.

Smithsonian undersecretary for art resigns

Smithsonian Undersecretary for Art Ned Rifkin is stepping down after four years, The Washington Post reported March 13. Rifkin’s resignation, which he terms “a sabbatical,” comes in the midst of the Smithsonian’s search for a new top executive after the previous director came up against an accounting scandal.

Tax exemptions uncertain for Minn. nonprofits

Minnesota nonprofits are facing continued uncertainty about state property tax exemptions after the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in December that a nonprofit child-care center didn’t qualify, reported March 10. The case, which some hope will be reversed by pending legislation, is one in a long history of legal disputes over property-tax exemptions in Minnesota.

Priest gets $1.6M Templeton Prize

Michael Heller, a priest, professor and cosmologist-philosopher, has received the $1.6 million Templeton Prize from the John Templeton Foundation for his work on religion and science, The New York Times reported March 13. The Polish philosopher says he will use his prize, the richest awarded by a philanthropy, to create a science and theology center at his university in Krakow.

Chinese entrepreneur pushes corporate philanthropy

Niu Gensheng, one of China’s foremost entrepreneurs, beleives his country could be a world leader in per-capita corporate philanthropy, and advocates adopting a sustainable giving approach, Antara News reported March 11. Founder of China’s biggest milk manufacturer, Gensheng broke new ground in Chinese philanthropy when he gave all of his shares in the company to the Laoniu Foundation.

British charities get $610M gift aid extension

British charities are reassured after a gift-tax aid from the government was extended for the next three years, guaranteeing them 300 million pounds, or $610 million, in revenue that a lowered tax rate would have lost them, The Financial Times reported March 13. The government says it will give the groups time to adjust.

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