Nonprofit news roundup for April 23, 2008

Vermont eyes new ‘low-profit’ companies

Vermont’s governor is poised to sign a bill that would make his the first state to authorize a new type of hybrid company that combines nonprofit with for-profit, The Burlington Free Press reported April 22. Low-profit limited liability companies, or L3Cs, would allow low-profit companies with a social goal to receive foundation funding without the time-consuming and often expensive process of seeking IRS approval of the grants.

How many ‘thanks’ does a big gift require?

A public hearing was held to determine whether the name of Stephan A. Schwartzman, who donated $100 million to the New York Public Library, will be carved on pedestals flanking the library’s Fifth Avenue entrance, after the proposal was rejected by a community board, The New York Times reported April 20. Approval already has been given to carve Schwartzman’s name at three other locations around the library, raising the question of “how many thanks are enough” for big benefactors.

Religion is the new ‘social evil,’ poll says

A recent poll by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a British charity created over a century ago by an ardent Christian to fight slavery and the opium trade, has found religion to be the new “social evil” of the 21st century, The Sunday Times reported April 20. Respondents said religion divides society, fuels intolerance and spawns “irrational” policies.

Give money for free

Several new websites allow users to raise money for charity without giving a penny, The Wall Street Journal reported April 21. Search engines SearchKindly and GoodSearch, and social networking sites like Facebook, join older establishments like and in using advertising revenue to make charitable contributions of a few pennies per click.

McCain releases tax returns

U.S. presidential candidate John McCain released his tax returns, though not his wife’s, showing he earned $405,409 and donated $105, 467 to charity last year, mostly through a family foundation that supports surgery for disfigured children and clears mines abroad, The Los Angeles Times reported April 19. A more detailed analysis of McCain’s giving in recent years shows the senator has given away the $1,800,000 earned by his five books since 1998, as well as all increases in his Senate pay.

In Brief:

* Texas State University has severed ties with The Mitte Foundation, a major donor, after the funder’s president was arrested on charges of cocaine possession, The New York Times reported April 22.

* The legacy of musician Ray Charles is “knotted up” in legal disputes between the estate’s management and the singer’s children, who want control of the marketing of their father’s name and image, as well as a greater voice in the operations of his namesake foundation, The Los Angeles Times reported April 20.

* People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is offering $1 million to the person who invents a method to produce commercially-viable quantities of fake meat at competitive prices by 2012, The New York Times reported April 21.

* Al Gore’s $300 million We Campaign for environmental change is needed, but its approach is too traditional to effect systems-level change, Alex Steffen said in an opinion column at April 7.

* Rocky Twyman of Rockville, Md., has helped add more than 14,000 minorities to bone-marrow donor lists in the past 15 years, resulting in his selection as Maryland’s finalist for the Congressional Medal of Honor, The Washington Post reported April 17.

* The proposed Kenyan Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission should focus on the unique differences between women’s and men’s plights in the country’s recent political unrest, an international nonprofit said, The East African Standard reported April 21.

* Nearly a third of British respondents in a recent poll think people should give at least 2 percent of their income to charity, The Press Association reported April 21.

* The Palestinian government will build 30,000 affordable apartments and offer $500 million in long-term mortgages, backed by its own money and that of the U.S. and British governments, The Associated Press reported April 14.

* A new payroll-giving system will allow New Zealand residents to donate to charity directly from their paychecks beginning next year, The New Zealand Press Association reported April 17.

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