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Nonprofit news roundup for April 1, 2008

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Obama plans tax credit for college volunteers

U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama has proposed a $4,000 tax credit for college students willing to volunteer 100 hours a year, The Boston Globe said in an editorial March 27. Obama’s plan would bolster previous presidential calls to volunteerism with a financial incentive and stronger infrastructure, benefitting nonprofits and students alike, but the tax credit must not become a handout for do-nothing jobs, the Globe said.

LGBT philanthropy sees estate-gift trend

The end-of-life gifts of aging philanthropists are increasingly filling the coffers of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender foundations that have long depended on smaller, grassroots donations for survival, The San Francisco Chronicle reported March 31. Many gay and lesbian donors, who often don’t have children, are likely to consider estate gifts to fund the HIV/AIDS treatment and civil rights causes of future generations.

McCune Foundation loses $130M in sub-prime crisis

One of the largest foundations in western Pennsylvania blames the sub-prime mortgage crisis for a $130 million loss that has forced the foundation to suspend grant giving, The Associated Press reported March 30. The McCune Foundation has been battling to force National City Corp., the bank that represents one of its major investments, to relinquish some control over the foundation’s assets, which have now plummeted as National City lost nearly two-thirds of its value in the past few months.

U.S. dependence on food stamps reaches record high

The number of Americans on food stamps is projected to reach 28 million this year, the highest level since the aid program’s inception in the 1960s, The New York Times reported March 31. With the economic slowdown and price inflation in basic goods, advocates worry about the small but steady decline in real benefits since 1996.

Gates adopts ‘challenge’ model

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will give $100 million in grants to fund novel ideas, vaccines or drug-delivery systems that combat infectious diseases, Stefanie Olsen said in a blog for CNET News. The initiative promises an accelerated grant application process and to consider the proposals of developing-world scientists who do not typically work in global health.

Victims admire Filipino hostage-taker’s philanthropy

Memories of a Filipino hostage-taker’s philanthropy have many of his victims fighting for his release from jail, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported March 28. Armando Ducat Jr. held 26 preschool children and three teachers hostage a year ago to denounce corruption and demand better lives for the children, and some say authorities have listened.

South Korean president gives salary to poor

Lee Myung-Bak , the new South Korean president, will give his salary to the underprivileged for the duration of his five-year term, CNN reported March 31. The former CEO of an engineering and construction company, Lee gave his salary to the children of street cleaners and firefighters while mayor of Seoul and vowed during his recent election campaign to give his entire fortune of more than $30.2 million, minus a retirement home, to the poor.

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