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Nonprofit news roundup for July 3, 2008

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Obama reiterates call to service

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama yesterday gave a comprehensive overview of his plan to encourage service by expanding AmeriCorps and the Foreign Service, doubling the size of the Peace Corps, and increasing the size of the U.S. military to ease the burden on troops, MSNBC reported July 2 (see Obama service plan story). The $3.5 billion-a-year plan would also provide incentives to integrate community service into education at all levels, and encourage veterans and retirees to give back to their communities.

China earthquake spurs call for private charities

Chinese companies are calling for a new charities law that would clear the way for private enterprise to register foundations, The Financial Times reported July 2 (see China charity law story). The law, which would end a practice of forcing nonprofits and foundations to partner with the government, has been in the works for several years, but is gaining public support in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Sichuan.

Donor-intent ruling favors donor in Tulane case

A Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled that “would-be” heirs may sue to enforce the conditions of a will in a donor-intent case attempting to revive a women’s college at Tulane University, The Associated Press reported July 1 (see Tulane donor-intent story). The suit was in opposition to Tulane University’s decision, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, to combine the women’s college with its other undergraduate programs, and most of higher education groups in the U.S. have rallied around Tulane, arguing that courts should not intervene in universities’ rights to decide curricular matters, Inside Higher Ed reported July 2 (see Tulane reaction story).

Athletes’ charities rarely a lasting hit

Despite good intentions, a number of charities started by Boston athletes past and present have been inefficient and short-lived, The Boston Business Journal reported June 27 (see athletes’ charities story). Critics say there are much better ways for athletes to give back than starting their own foundation, like Athletes for Hope, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that connects sports stars to charities.

In Brief:

* United Way of the Central Carolinas in Charlotte has apologized for not shifting enough money over the years to its president’s retirement account, resulting in the $822,000 payment this year that has generated outrage, The Charlotte Observer reported July 3.

* A tax credit in Nebraska encourages state citizens to make planned gifts to permanent endowment funds, The Fremont Tribune reported July 2.

* The Humane Society of the United States and PETA have said they will be suggesting programs and applying for funds if late hotelier Leona Helmsley’s billions end up funding dog welfare, The Associated Press reported July 2.

* A government initiative will protect more land in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, where roughly 50,000 acres of Civil War battlefields are unprotected, The Associated Press reported  June 30.

* Experts and insiders in the clothing retail business discuss the difficulties of ensuring that goods are produced in ethically-acceptable conditions when dealing with suppliers in developing countries, in this Financial Times story July 2.

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