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Nonprofit news roundup for June 19, 2008

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Metropolitan Opera undergoes turnaround

The Metropolitan Opera’s two-year turnaround of its falling ticket sales is a perfect business-school case study, said Ben Rosen in a blog at The Huffington Post June 18 (see Opera story). To accomplish this feat, the Met spent more time promoting its stars, bringing in directors from theater and film, pumping up almost nonexistent marketing efforts, targeting specialized audiences for more obscure works, and introducing new revenue sources, all without sacrificing its artistic mission, Rosen said.

Governments look to nonprofits for foreclosure model

U.S. federal and state governments are looking at spending billions of dollars on efforts to buy and revamp foreclosed properties, The Wall Street Journal reported June 18 (see foreclosures article). Philanthropies like The Living Cities Consortium, which has announced a plan to provide up to $10 million in grants and low interest loans to state and local programs addressing foreclosures, already are providing models for this work.

Harlem’s Children’s Zone a ‘model’ for other cities

Cities like Baltimore are considering adopting the uniquely tight network of health, parenting and educational services that extend from infancy until college at New York City’s Harlem Children’s Zone, The Baltimore Sun reported June 15 (see Children’s Zone story). The center’s network of comprehensive classes, programs, and a business strategy similar to that of a Fortune 500 company, have drawn the attention of U.S. presidential candidates and English royalty, the article says.

Education’s ‘power couple’

Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp and her husband Richard Barth, who runs a charter-school network called the Knowledge is Power Program, are a “power couple” in the world of education, The New York Times reported June 19 (see school entrepreneurs story). The two are representative of a new class of young social entrepreneurs seeking to reshape the educational landscape by creating new schools, training better principals, and getting smart young teachers into needy classrooms.

In Brief:

* The American Red Cross and Johnson & Johnson have resolved a lawsuit over the use of their shared red-and-white symbol, The Boston Globe reported June 17.

* Oxford University has received $50 million from Silicon Valley venture capitalist Michael Moritz for its endowment campaign, The Wall Street Journal reported June 19.

* The Life Sciences Institute at the University of Michigan is taking an innovative approach to filling a common funding gap in biotechnology research, Nathan Bomey said in a column in the The Ann Arbor Business Review.

* Alabama-based foundations gave away a total of $145 million in 2006, according to a recent report, The Birmingham News reported June 19.

* Israel should look to its civil society for creative solutions to state problems, says former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, The Jerusalem Post reported June 19.

* Atlanta will be home to a new national health museum expected to draw 1.4 million annual visitors and bring 135 jobs to the region, WGCL TV Atlanta reported June 18.

* Some Japanese nonprofits are promoting a “food bank” program in Japan, following in the footsteps of their American counterparts, Kyodo News International reported June 16.

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