Nonprofit news roundup for April 25, 2008

Clinton Foundation urged to disclose donors

Americans deserve to know who has been donating to the William J. Clinton Foundation, The Wall Street Journal said in an editorial April 25. A laundry list of past donors to the foundation who sought and often received presidential favors from former President Bill Clinton suggests his wife, Democratic U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, may easily find herself under the same influences should she be elected president in November.

Arts funding in transition in U.S. and Britain

Across the U.S., museums, concert halls and dance companies that must often take on large debt burdens to finance renovations are suffering under spiking interest rates and low investment returns, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported April 21. In Britain, where arts institutions enjoy the security of “halfway-house” funding split between private philanthropists and public funding, many worry the government may be seeking to shift more of the burden onto individual funders, Nicola Fahey said in an opinion column in The Birmingham Post April 23.

NYC Council scandal makes nonprofits nervous, has deep roots

The slush-fund scandal engulfing the New York City Council is causing panic among the nonprofit groups that usually get council funds, the Daily News in New York reported April 19. The scandal is not an isolated incident, but a result of the powerful role nonprofits play in the political process, a role that traces its roots to the Johnson administration’s 1960s War on Poverty, Stephen Malanga, senior editor of City Journal and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, said in an opinion column in City Journal April 22.

Food crisis needs ‘New Deal’ on food policy, says World Bank

Millions of poor Americans and citizens of other developed countries risk going hungry if food prices continue to rise, The Financial Times reported April 24. Britain has announced a food-aid package worth 455 million British pounds, or $900 million, to combat the global food crisis that experts say will require “tsunami-scale” aid to avert famine, The Independent of London reported April 23. World Bank President Robert Zoellick is calling for a “New Deal for Global Food Policy,” focused not only on hunger and malnutrition, but also on their interconnections with energy, yields, climate change, investment, the marginalization of women and other groups and economic resiliency, he said in a guest column in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer April 22.

Old Baltimore family hopes to finance economic revival

William Polk Carey says he will leave the bulk of his fortune to his private foundation, the W.P. Carey Foundation, in hopes of restoring the city to its former commercial glory, The Baltimore Sun reported April 24. The gift from Carey, whose family’s philanthropic roots run generations deep in Baltimore, would propel the $20 million foundation into the top ranks of grantmakers currently focusing their work on the city.

Domestic violence costs England and Wales $78 billion annually

In England and Wales, violence against women is costing 40 billion British pounds, nearly $78 billion, a year in lost economic output, use of the legal system, and expenses linked to the emotional toll, the BBC reported April 23. The study also says charities dealing with the problem are “grossly” underfunded.

In Brief:

* David M. Rockefeller is giving Harvard University $100 million, the largest gift by an alumnus in the university’s history, The New York Times reported April 25.

* Charity money generated by the Boston Marathon has jumped 50 percent to more than $10 million since 2004, though the ranks of “charity runners” have only grown by 7 percent, The Wall Street Journal reported April 21.

* Charities in Minnesota, California, New Jersey, New York and Washington State that depend on bingo for revenue say their profits have dropped considerably since implementing smoking bans, The New York Times reported April 24.

* The Foundation Center is now offering services in Spanish as part of an “ongoing effort to level the fundraising playing field,” The Nonprofiteer said in a blog April 18.

* If charity begins at home, lesbians should give only to charities that support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, bisexual community, Fiona Harvey said in an opinion column for DIVA magazine.

* A Palestinian-hosted conference hopes to raise $600 million to boost the economy in the Gaza Strip, Reuters reported April 23. An Israeli food blockade is threatening a halt to food aid for the region’s impoverished inhabitants, The Guardian reported April 21.

* eSolar will build solar thermal power plants that produce clean, renewable power with $130 million in funding from Google Inc.’s philanthropic arm, Idealab, Oak Investment Partners, and other investors, Reuters reported April 21.

* Latin American countries that rely on remittances and manufacturing imports to the U.S. will suffer most in the region from the U.S. economic slowdown, United Nations officials estimated, Dow Jones reported April 22.

* Climate change could leave 250 million more people short of water by 2020, spurring conflicts and further instability in Africa, according to the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Reuters reported April 22.

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