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Nonprofit news roundup for July 9, 2008

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Funds misappropriated at 2 nonprofit groups

Two prominent national nonprofits, Acorn and the Points of Light Institute, have recently disclosed the misappropriation of large sums by current and former employees, The New York Times reported July 9 (see funds misappropriation story). The groups have dealt with the problems in different ways, with Acorn keeping the embezzlement of nearly $1 million eight years ago a private matter. Points of Light immediately notified federal prosecutors when it noticed financial irregularities in early June.

Sir John Templeton, philanthropist, dies at 95

Sir John M. Templeton, the Tennessee-born investor and philanthropist, died from pneumonia on Tuesday at age 95, The New York Times reported July 8 (see John Templeton story). The Templeton Foundation awards the Templeton Prize for “progress in religion,” one of the world’s richest prizes, and sponsors research and conferences that touch upon what Templeton called “spiritual realities” — the “nebulous borders” of science and religion.

Obama’s national service plan criticized

The provisions for a beefed-up national-service plan outlined in a recent speech by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama “seek to fix what ain’t broke,” said Jonah Goldberg in an opinion column in The Los Angeles Times July 8 (see Obama service plan story). Indoctrinating an entire generation with the idea that public service is something you do at the government’s behest would not only steamroll the culture, it would help fewer people in the process, Goldberg said.

In Brief:

* Habitat for Humanity’s oldest chapter has settled a lawsuit it filed fearing a new affiliate agreement would force local chapters to give up larger portions of their donations, The Associated Press reported July 7.

* Mooresville, N.C.,  Police Chief John Crone has been suspended with pay while the town investigates a possible misappropriation of funds in the department’s Cops for Kids programs, The Charlotte Observer reported July 9.

* Billionaire Warren Buffett has transferred over 500,000 shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock to two family foundations and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Associated Press reported July 7.

* Brazil’s decision to force nonprofits to re-register with the government may be a move to damp-down nonprofit scrutiny of deforestation and indigenous rights, The Financial Times reported July 8.

* Defendants in the Holy Land Foundation case face a retrial after a judge declined their lawyers’ request to dismiss the case, The Associated Press reported July 8.

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