Nonprofit news roundup for June 13, 2008

Economic crisis may hit fundraisers

Fundraisers across the board are pulling in less in recent months, as the recent Robin Hood Foundation gala and the Salvation Army’s dwindling coffers attest, Daniel Gross said in a Newsweek column June 12 (see charity crisis story). Charitable giving will probably slump this year and possibly next, he predicts.

Hedge-fund giving soars

The foundations affiliated with the top 25 hedge funds grew 31 percent in assets last year as corporate profits soared, The Wall Street Journal reported June 12 (see hedge-fund foundation story). Those foundations, the largest of which is George Soros’ Open Society Institute, now control a combined $4.6 billion in assets.

Aid can hurt health systems

Aid efforts can harm developing health-care systems, creating internal “brain drain” by hiring scarce doctors and nurses away from the public sector, Sheri Frank said in a ProPublica column June 10 (see aid story). Two-dozen international health and development agencies have called for reforms to prevent this and other long-term damage to health systems in developing countries caused by temporary aid agencies.

Jewish federation seeks to harness women’s wealth

New York’s Jewish Federation is reframing its efforts to attract female donors and volunteers in hopes of tapping into the majority share of the nation’s private wealth already in the hands of women, The Jewish Week reported June 11 (see women’s giving article). With their share of the wealth slated to increase, women already are taking a more active role in giving, though few nonprofits report reconsidering their approach to female donors.

In Brief:

* An ailing Paul Newman turned over the entire value of his ownership in Newman’s Own to his foundation, Roger Friedman said in a Fox News blog June 11.

* Cleveland’s civic leaders are spearheading local efforts to combat a national shortage of minority nonprofit board members, The Cleveland Plain Dealer said in an editorial June 9.

* A major Oxford donor and one of Israel’s richest men, Zvi Meitar, says the university’s “offensive” behavior in rejecting his offer of a statue worth 1 million pounds, or $1.95 million, has jeopardized current and future gifts, The Times of London reported May 18.

* Fifteen of Britain’s academies, state schools under the management of a philanthropic sponsor that the prime minister has been promoting as a solution to failing schools, are eliciting controversy by refusing to disclose their donors, The Guardian of London reported June 10.

* The Toronto Symphony Orchestra received $3.5 million to endow its concertmaster’s chair, allowing the group to compete with America’s top orchestras as it replaces its retiring lead violinist, The Toronto Star reported June 12.

* The British government is facing a legal challenge from two charities over its inaction in helping those who cannot afford to heat their homes, The Press Association reported June 7.

* A South-African member of parliament accused “white-run” NGOs of posing a threat to national security while pretending to help victims of the recent spate of xenophobic attacks, Cape Argus reported June 11.

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