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Nonprofit news roundup for June 9, 2008

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Federal auditors question Teach for America

Based on accounting irregularities, federal auditors are questioning whether almost $775,000 in federal funding spent on training by Teach for America was used for the purposes intended by the government, The New York Times reported June 7.  A spokesman for the nonprofit agrees there were “accounting failures,” but says no government funds were misspent.

Louisiana lawmaker’s relatives indicted on fraud charges

Three family members of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana have been charged with taking more than $600,000 in state and federal grant dollars that were intended for pregnant teens, at-risk youth and other needy populations, The Associated Press reported June 4.  The lawmaker’s brother, sister and niece were indicted by a New Orleans federal grand jury on charges that include program fraud, identity theft and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Gates Foundation says ‘all lives are equal’

When determining how to invest the wealth of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the basic tenet is “all lives are equal,” Melinda Gates told the audience at the D: All Things Digital conference in early June, The Wall Street Journal reported June 5.  She encouraged conference participants to become more involved and consider how they might use their expertise to mitigate global problems.

Ohio State to launch $2.5 billion campaign

With a new president at the helm, Ohio State University will launch the quiet phase of its largest-ever fundraising campaign in January, aiming to raise at least $2.5 billion, the Associated Press reported June 6.  The school’s president, Gordon Gee, tapped veteran fundraiser Peter Weiler, formerly with Penn State, to lead the effort.

Miami nonprofits top financial-practices list

Charities in Miami ranked higher than those in any other metropolitan market in the U.S. in terms of financial practices, according to a study by Charity Navigator, the South Florida Business Journal reported June 6.  Thanks in part to a reduction in spending on overhead and fundraising, and a jump in program spending, The Miami area bumped San Diego from the top spot it held for the past three years.

Tax laws, stock-market wealth mean increase in small funders

Increasing wealth in the stock markets and changes in tax laws since the early 1990s have played a role in the growth of the number of U.S. foundations, up by almost half since 1995, The New York Times reported June 7.  While especially true of smaller foundations, a mandatory payout of 5 percent of assets for all funders, coupled with falling stocks and a weakening economy, are forcing many smaller groups to become more savvy and creative about investing their assets.

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