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Nonprofit news roundup for May 6, 2008

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Corporate-volunteering programs go global

Some of the biggest corporate names are sending their employees around the globe on costly service trips in an effort to bolster company reputations, do “real good,” and develop employee skill sets, The Boston Globe reported May 4. Companies like Ernst & Young, Pfizer, Timberland, and IBM have picked up on the trend.

Canadian watchdog proposes federal fundraising rules

Canada’s charity watchdog, the Charities Directorate, has for the first time proposed federal rules on fundraising and is seeking comments from charities through June, The Toronto Star reported May 5. Proposed rules include keeping fundraising costs to 35 cents on the dollar and avoiding commissions to telemarketers.

Mega-churches hire pros to raise megabucks

A growing number of mega-churches are hiring fundraising consultants and full-time directors of development in an effort to compete more effectively for donations and fuel expansions, Crain’s Detroit Business reported May 5. Churches already receive nearly a third of all U.S. tax-deductible donations annually.

Philanthropy gains in the classroom

Many schools now are encouraging educators to include community service in their lesson plans, rather than as an extracurricular activity, The Chicago Tribune reported May 5. Such efforts often go beyond traditional food drives and penny wars in order to supply educational value to students.

Black activists go online

A growing group of young black activists has turned to online media in an attempt to “eclipse” traditional civil-rights work, The Washington Post reported May 4. Organizations like ColorOfChange.org and black bloggers are leading the challenge to weakened, but still formidable, groups like the NAACP that some say “never reached out” to the hip-hop generation.

Last big 9/11 charity closes its doors

The Survivor’s Fund, which helped Washington, D.C.-area victims of the September 11 attack on the Pentagon, is the last major Sept. 11-related charity to shut down, bringing an unofficial end to the nation’s philanthropic response, The Washington Post reported May 4. The Fund, which raised $25 million from more than 12,000 businesses and individuals, has been held up by some as a model for dealing with bereavement thanks to its intimate, one-on-one approach to victims and their families.

In Brief:

* The University of Minnesota will soon offer one of the only nonprofit management programs for undergraduates, thanks to the efforts of two recent students, MinnPost.com reported May 5.

* The Pittsburg Foundation’s new director, Grant Oliphant, seen as less controversial than his predecessor, is revisiting funding priorities and metrics in an effort to be less rigid and more “opportunistic,” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported May 4.

* D. Parvaz urges taxpayers to give their rebates to charity, particularly food banks and micro-credit groups, in a column in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer May 2.

* Anti-crime nonprofits in Wisconsin may lose hundreds of thousands of dollars under a new state law that prohibits courts from requiring defendants to pay fines to groups like Crime Stoppers and DARE, The Chicago Tribune reported May 5.

* American media mogul Ted Turner is working on hunger, malaria, global warming, red cockaded woodpeckers, nuclear annihilation, and volunteer fire departments through his philanthropy and activism, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported April 28.

* Charity Navigator slammed rocker Sting’s rainforest charity for giving only 41 percent of a recent fundraiser to tree-saving programs, but Sting’s wife Trudie Styler defends the event, People Magazine reported May 5.

* Senators Carl Kruger, Ruben Diaz and Tom Duane are figures of interest in this year’s battle for “pork,” or discretionary funds numbering in the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Senate members can direct to nonprofits and programs of their choice, Elizabeth Benjamin said in a column in the New York Daily News May 5.

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