Nonprofit news roundup for June 5, 2008

Red Cross chapter’s fundraising questioned

The Hawkeye Chapter of the American Red Cross has raised over $400,000 in the wake of a deadly tornado in Iowa last month, more than enough to cover its estimated $255,000 in expenses, The New York Times reported June 5.  Some local residents, including U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, head of the Senate Finance Committee and critic of the Red Cross’ post-Katrina fundraising, are questioning whether the charity is raising money under the banner of the Iowa tornado that ultimately will be used elsewhere.

Gates Foundation rivals WHO and USAID

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a behemoth in the philanthropy world since receiving a $37 billion commitment from billionaire-investor Warren Buffett, is large enough now to rival the U.N. World Health Organization and the U.S. Agency for International Development, The Independent reported June 4. The foundation awards about $800 million a year to groups working on global healthcare.

S.C. lawmakers said to funnel tax dollars through universities to charities

Lawmakers in South Carolina have used public universities in the state to “quietly channel” almost $2 million in tax dollars to pet charities over the last three years, the Charleston, S.C., Post and Courier reported June 1. In some cases, money was funneled to nonprofits that have direct ties to legislators, and the questionable activities appear to be widespread, said the paper’s investigative report.

Europeans take tip from Americans for funding nonprofits

As sources of funds for arts groups and other charitable organizations worldwide are harder and harder to come by, Europeans are being forced to contemplate supplementing their traditional public subsidies with private fundraising, The New York Times reported June 4. The Festspielhus Baden-Baden, a German nonprofit venue that hosts musicians and dance companies, is leading the way with virtually all its funding coming from private sources.

Disasters in Asia unleash private giving

The recent natural disasters in Myanmar and China, both countries dominated by their governments, have unleashed waves of internal and external private giving by individuals, businesses, charities and religious groups, Carol C. Adelman said in an opinion column in the International Herald Tribune June 4. Such private response, which in China includes $90 million from American businesses and $192 million from Chinese citizens, may render government aid a “minority shareholder” in overall funds flowing to the developing world.

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