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Nonprofit news roundup for April 28, 2008

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Business education a philanthropic priority

A recent spate of large donations from alumni to U.S. business schools shows management education remains a priority among the growing wealthy class, The Financial Times reported April 27. The University of Wisconsin, California State University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Chicago, and Johns Hopkins University have all received record gifts in recent years.

Clean energy threatens environment

From Texas to Scotland, new clean-energy projects that threaten to disrupt wildlife habitats are spawning conflicts among environmentalists, Keith Johnson said in a blog in the Wall Street Journal April 28. The latest dispute pits California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger against green advocates over a 150-mile transmission line that would cross a state park in California.

ACLU votes to take over South Carolina branch

The American Civil Liberties Union has voted to take over management of its South Carolina affiliate, whose recent criticism of the national organization has caused a public rift, The New York Times reported April 28. The ACLU’s board claims the takeover, the first in the group’s history, is a result of the South Carolina branch’s financial and governance struggles in recent years.

NYC Council funding scandals continue

Manhattan City Councilman Miguel Martinez funneled more than $400,000 in taxpayer dollars to a nonprofit where his sister sits on the board of directors, The New York Daily News reported April 25.  Hiram Monserrate, a Queens city councilman, supplied more than $400,000 to Libre, a nonprofit agency run by his closest aides and has not registered with the state attorney general’s office or filed a tax return in the past two years, The New York Times reported April 28.

McCain proposes different war on poverty

Republican Senator and presidential candidate John McCain may have followed in footsteps of President Lyndon B. Johnson, but his recent speech on anti-poverty didn’t embrace Johnson’s heavy enlistment of government as the solution, The New York Times reported April 24. Instead, as he stood near the front porch in Appalachia where Johnson declared his war on poverty, McCain proposed tax breaks, federal loans and low-interest bonds to help isolated communities connect to high-speed Internet.

Philanthropy funds leave EU terrorist list

The European Union’s decision to take Peruvian guerrilla group Tupac Amaru off its terrorist list shows how terrorists can advance their cause with the help of nonprofit groups, often funded by foreign governments and private philanthropists, Mary Anastasia O’Grady said in an opinion column in the Wall Street Journal April 28. The Peruvian nonprofit Aprodeh, which worked to get Tupac Amaru off the EU terrorist list, was funded last year by sources as diverse as Oxfam America, George Soros’s Open Society, the John Merck Foundation, the city of Barcelona, the Dutch embassy and a U.S. government agency called the Inter-American Foundation.

In Brief:

* Activist group Dream for Darfur will organize protests against companies sponsoring the Beijing Olympics, which it says have failed to press China to help end fighting in Sudan, The Associated Press reported April 25.

* The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will increase its spending on farming projects by 50 percent as surging food prices threaten starvation and social unrest in poor countries, Bloomberg News reported April 24.

* The World Food Program has issued an emergency call for funds to feed Haiti’s poor, Reuters reported April 24.  The agency is facing a $37.8 million shortfall in the $45 million budget anticipated for the region

* Planned Parenthood has been called “racist” by a coalition of black leaders after a series of YouTube videos by students at the University of California at Los Angeles showed clinic workers in four states agreeing to accept donations intended to help abort a black child, The Washington Times reported April 25.

* Business-information provider Thomson Reuters has named Richard Harrington chairman of its charitable foundation, CNNMoney.com reported April 28.

* UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced a global initiative to ensure universal coverage for malaria treatment by 2010, The Associated Press reported April 25.

* A Smithsonian Institution business executive has been cleared in an assault case against a former custodian, The Washington Post reported April 25.  A judge acknowledged the assault, but cited a law that protects some federal employees from injury lawsuits.

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