Nonprofit news roundup for April 10, 2008

American Idol renews charity appeal

Reality TV show American Idol is launching its second annual appeal for its “Idol Gives Back” charity, though officials still decline to release formal accounting from last year’s effort, The New York Times reported April 7. Roughly $68 million of the $76 million raised from individuals, corporations and matching gifts has been pledged to nine poverty-reduction charities in the U.S. and Africa, with about $5 million, or 7 percent, going to administrative costs – a generally lower amount than the average charity’s overhead.

Tufts, Lesley share $275 million

Tufts University and Lesley University will share a $275 million donation, the largest in their histories, from the late Frank Currier Doble, who was a Tufts alum and a trustee of both schools, The Boston Globe reported April 9. Doble had placed ownership of his engineering company in a trust and named both universities as beneficiaries.

Hershey Trust CEO to step down

Robert C. Vowler will step down as head of the Hershey Trust Co. after 22 years at the helm, The Wall Street Journal reported April 9. He says he will stay on with the trust as an advisor for another year.

Anonymous donors revealed by Wisc. newspaper

The donors behind an anonymous $10 million gift to build a new municipal complex in a small Wisconsin town have been unmasked by the local newspaper, The Associated Press reported March 7. The two elderly brothers named by the paper as donors were not previously known to be wealthy until the Racine Journal Times, following a lead that the anonymous benefactor might be attempting to profit from the gift, revealed their identities.

Corporate social responsibly seen on rise in India

Indian nonprofits have not been targeting corporations in the same way as Western ones and, without a rating and ranking system to value its results, corporate social responsibility in India has yet to achieve critical mass, Shailaja Chandra said in a column in The Daily Pioneer April 10. Yet Dipayan Mazumdar said in a column in MeriNews April 2 that corporate social responsibility is increasingly working its way into many policy debates and corporate agendas in India. While reporting sustainability practices is not mandatory, “low, but significant” numbers of Indian businesses do report their practices, said Mazumdar.

African business tycoon Dangote does philanthropy

West Africa’s richest man, Nigerian business tycoon Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who is worth about $3.3 billion, has become involved in philanthropy through the charitable arm of his company, The Dangote Group, The Concord Times of Freetown, Sierra Leone reported April 4. The Dangote Foundation works in the areas of education, health, water supply, sports and poverty alleviation.

Water costliest for poor, and trading could help, says Nestlé CEO

The poorest generally pay the most for the most essential of natural resources: water, The Financial Times reported April 3. Though water is a renewable resource, the problems are distribution and pricing in a way that encourages conservation without reaching prohibitive levels. Water trading, which would implement a cap-and-trade system similar to carbon trading, is the solution suggested by Peter Brabeck-Letmathechief, Nestlé chief executive.

Google maps refugee camps

Google Inc. has added the new feature of refugee movements to its online mapping programs, The Associated Press reported April 8. The feature, which offers close-up views of a number of refugee camps, is intended to help aid groups and heighten publicity around humanitarian crises.

Latin America must improve education, says Gates

Latin America might make a good training ground for solving Africa’s health crises, but needs to improve its education systems if it wants to spur its own development, philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates told the Inter-American Development Bank, Forbes reported April 4. Gates was one of a parade of stars, both corporate and pop, at the Latin American development bank’s annual meeting in Miami last weekend, the South Florida Star-Sentinel reported April 5.

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