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Nonprofit news roundup for May 14, 2008

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Financial outlook for charities may not be so bad

Some companies have already begun to reduce their corporate-giving budgets in the face of economic struggles, though others have increased their philanthropy and fundraisers say they have yet to see major fallout from cutbacks, The Puget Sound Business Journal reported May 11. British experts say charity investments, usually built for the long-term, will weather the slowdown, which may even provide charities with real buying opportunities, ThirdSector reported May 14.

Socially-responsible funds fare better than average

Socially-responsible investment funds seem to be faring better than average in the current economic downturn, bolstered by a preference for long-term strategies and a tendency to bet on green energy, BusinessWeek reported May 14. Many of these funds are seeing inflows as investors shun high risk and look to diversify in their energy holdings.

Remittances bolster private philanthropy’s global reach

Philanthropy has become globalized as technology opens the door to speedier, less-costly giving, but there’s no sign this change means a significant increase in resources for developing countries, where the most positive surge seems to be in money sent by migrants to their families, The Christian Science Monitor reported May 12. Private giving in the U.S. has grown, yet dollars flowing to the developing world would be down without such remittances.

Colleges look to donors to beef up financial aid

Dozens of colleges and universities are looking to private donors to help them overhaul their financial-aid programs, The Wall Street Journal reported May 13. Yet recent scandals criticizing both schools and donors for not holding up their end of the giving bargain have made many wary, requiring more-detailed planning and piles of paperwork for the 91.6 percent of college donations earmarked for restricted uses.

Teach for America surges in popularity

Teach for America, a nonprofit that recruits top college graduates to work for two years in struggling public schools, is placing 28 percent more teachers this year than last, and has become the number-one employer on campuses like Duke, Emory and Georgetown, The New York Times reported May 14. The program, which will place 3,700 new teachers from an applicant pool of 24,700, has seen its budget more than double to $110 million from $40 million since 2005.

In Brief:

* The American Red Cross may relocate some employees from its Washington, D.C. headquarters to a satellite office in Northern Virginia to generate revenue for the ailing nonprofit, which faces a $200 million operating deficit and has already laid off 1,000 of its 3,000 national employees, The Washington Post reported May 13.

* Five historic New Orleans sites will receive a total of $400,000 in grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express, The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported May 13.

* The Minnesota Legislature is treating the reserve bank accounts of the state’s nonprofit health-care providers as its private ATM, seeking to “find” up to $50 million in revenue, Jay Kiedrowski said in an opinion column in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune May 12.

* Car-donation programs have such high overhead that a prospective donor is better off selling the car himself and donating the proceeds, Harvy Lipman said in a column in The Record of Hackensack, N.J.  May 10.

* Houston attorney Joe Jamail is donating another $15 million to the University of Texas at Austin, The Associated Press reported May 12.

* The Queen of England has made a “significant” private donation of an undisclosed amount to a Myanmar cyclone fund, Reuters reported May 13.

* Roxanna Brown, director of the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum at Bangkok University, has been arrested on charges of wire fraud in a federal investigation into looted Southeast Asian antiquities, The Seattle Times reported May 13.

* The Egyptian government should be more tolerant of nonprofits and curb the heavy restrictions, state brutality and corruption these groups currently face, according to a United Nations-sponsored report, Reuters reported May 13.

* Twelve nonprofits in New Delhi, India, have been closed out of their offices due to zoning disputes, with 50 more facing temporary closure, The BS Reporter of New Delhi reported May 13.

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