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Nonprofit news roundup for March 18, 2008

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Social-justice revival emerges in many faiths

“Progressive evangelicals” are part of a broader spiritually-rooted movement of young people that is increasingly making the connection between evangelism and social justice, Jim Wallis, Sojourners president, wrote in an opinion column March 12 in The International Herald Tribune. Steeped in a variety of religious traditions, these young people are tackling issues from hunger and  Darfur to immigration and climate change.

Knight shifts focus to arts from housing

The John S. and James L. Knight  Foundation is replacing affordable housing with arts and education as its national philanthropic focus at a time when housing needs are at a critical high, The Miami Daily Business Review reported March 12. The foundation is drastically scaling back its Miami housing program, which after six years and $8.3 million had achieved less-than-desired results.

Wall Street execs find inspiration in nonprofits

Wall Street executives are increasingly finding themselves in search of nonprofit jobs that add inspiration and meaning to their lives, The Financial Times reported March 15. Though the loss of salary and support teams can be daunting, along with the repercussions of culture shock, many find their for-profit skills useful in the nonprofit sector.

Pittsburgh nonprofits face service fee

Pittsburgh nonprofits would be required to pay a service fee on certain tax-exempt properties under legislation before the Allegheny County Council, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported March 15. The measure would charge nonprofits $50 plus $150 for every 1,000 square feet of structures on tax-exempt land.

Big business converted to climate cause

Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott praised nonprofit environmental groups for starting the crusade for climate change that is increasingly converting big business leaders, Marc Gunther said in an opinion column March 14 at CNNMoney.com March 14. Scott and fellow CEOs of General Electric, Duke Power and Dow Chemical all said they favor federal caps on greenhouse gas emissions.

Clinton university initiative kicks off

Hundreds of handpicked college students gathered at the inaugural meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University designed to engage them in global issues, the Los Angeles Times reported March 13. Former President Clinton spoke about the role of energy-efficient, green building in New Orleans, the  Associated Press reported March 15, and The Wal-Mart Foundation has announced a $500,000 grant to the initiative for student projects, The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported March 17.

eBay CEO plans philanthropic retirement

Retiring eBay CEO Meg Whitman plans to focus her sights on philanthropic work, not the California governorship, The Mercury News reported March 12. Whitman serves on several boards and has recently launched a family foundation to focus on health care and education.

Charity donations buy Calif. Senate travel perks

The California Senate offers donors to its charity the opportunity to travel with lawmakers on trips arranged by the Senate’s own taxpayer-funded staff, the Los Angeles Times reported March 16. The charity, California International Relations Foundation, offers a board seat to contributors who give $3,000 or more.

Retired pilot gives children’s hospital $25M

Retired commercial pilot Joseph H. Moss has given $25 million to the Children’s Healthcare Hospital in Atlanta, The Austin Statesman reported March 16. The gift is the largest in the hospital’s history.

One Laptop Per Child sued over keyboard

One Laptop Per Child has been sued by a Nigerian inventor who says the group behind the “$100 laptop” intended for children in the developing world stole his keyboard design, The San Francisco Chronicle reported March 17. Ade Oyegbola’s company, Lancor, is seeking $20 million in damages in courts in Nigeria and Massachusetts.

Haitians go hungry while food rots in port

A new bureaucracy that sought to end Haiti’s role as middleman in Columbian cocaine circles has led to port backlogs so severe that donated food rots before it gets out of customs, The Associated Press reported March 7. Charities working in Haiti such as the Colorado-based Mercy and Sharing Foundation say they’re often forced to burn the food, while millions of Haitians go hungry.

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