Nonprofit news roundup for June 30, 2008

‘Travel philanthropy’ makessmall-scale, direct aid

Former Fulbright scholar Adam Carter spends half his year selling beer and the other half as an international micro-philanthropist, part of new “travel philanthropy” movement that gives small, direct donations to needy people in other countries, The Chicago Tribune reported June 29 (see travel philanthropy story). His approach to foreign aid is promoted by groups like 100 Friends, which say that larger philanthropists are often slowed by bureaucracy or cultural misunderstandings.

California nonprofits feel pinch of fireworks warning

Nonprofits are feeling the heat of California’s 1,200 wildfires as Gov. Arnold Schwartzenegger asks citizens to avoid buying fireworks this July 4, fearing that pyrotechnics would add to fire dangers, The Wall Street Journal reported June 28 (see California fireworks story). All California fireworks vendors are nonprofit organization, as mandated by municipal laws, and many rely heavily on the $35 million in annual profits.

Next generation of arts patrons

Arts patronage is looking at a younger future, with a small and privileged group being groomed to “take over the family business,” the New York Times reported June 29 (see arts patrons story). The trend toward younger patrons raises interesting questions, including whether a lifetime commitment to the arts can be “inherited,” and how the different priorities of young and older generations can be bridged.

Boston Beer launches small-business initiative

Boston Beer Co., which launched itself from a “small and fragile” startup to an internationally known brewery, is working with nonprofit Accion USA to offer small business owners loans through a $250,000 donation from Boston Beer, The Boston Globe reported June 30 (see Boston Beer story). The partnership, which also will host seminars and a mentorship program, is part of the company’s commitment to transforming urban neighborhoods through small business, founder Jim Koch says.

Will Smith’s school accused of Scientology focus

A new private school in Los Angeles founded by celebrities Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith has aroused controversy over its planned use of teaching methods developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, The Los Angeles Times reported June 29 (see Will Smith school story). Officials at the New Village Academy, which is giving financial assistance to 80 percent of its first class and plans to seek nonprofit status, says Hubbard’s “study technology” is one of several philosophies the school will use.

In Brief:

* Charity golfing events are finding fewer takers due to the tough economy and high gas prices, Chris Sikich said in a blog at the Indianapolis Star June 28.

* The newly established African-American Empowerment Fund of Delaware follows a core philanthropic principle of helping those most vested in a particular community contribute their own resources to its needs, The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., said in an editorial June 30.

* Oklahoma State University has received $57 million from Texas oilman Malone Mitchell and wife Amy, Tulsa World reported June 26.

* eBay auctioned off lunch with Warren Buffett for $2.1 million to a Chinese investment fund manager, The Associated Press reported June 29.

* A Wall Street-backed project to airlift medical supplies to Darfur is changing the face of bank and hedge fund philanthropy, The Financial Times reported June 25.

* Two Washington, D.C.-area nonprofits are helping churches leverage their properties to build more affordable housing and stem the loss of parishioners, The Washington Business Journal reported June 27.

* Patagonia is asking consumers to vote on which environmental group receives a $4,000 grant from the outdoor clothing manufacturer, Mark Neuzil said in a blog  at MinnPost June 30.

* The nonprofit insurer Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is considering conversion to for-profit status amid much controversy, but several academic studies suggest the impact may be minimal, The Star-Ledger reported June 30.

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