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Nonprofit news roundup for July 17, 2008

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New York City officials charged with child welfare fraud

Two officials at New York City’s child-welfare agency and the fiscal director of a Brooklyn foster-care agency have been charged with pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars generated through fake adoptions, The New York Times reported July 17 (see child welfare story). The money should have gone for the care of children with
disabilities or special needs.

Clinton Foundation unveils malaria-drug price plan

The Clinton Foundation, the charity of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, is set to unveil a pricing agreement it hopes will make malaria drugs available to millions of poor people, The Wall Street Journal reported July 17 (see Clinton Foundation story). The plan aims to stabilize the wildly fluctuating prices for first-line malaria drugs through a consortium of suppliers and drug companies who have agreed to a price ceiling in exchange for guaranteed business.

Helen Hayes sale blurs nonprofit, for-profit theater lines

In a sale further blurring the distinction between nonprofit theater and commercial Broadway, the nonprofit Second Stage Theater is buying Broadway’s smallest house, the Helen Hayes, Bloomberg News reported July 16 (see Second State Theater story). Commercial producers have been complaining privately about competing with publicly subsidized nonprofits on Broadway. The Hayes was one of the last independently-owned Broadway houses

Ex-CEO’s severance cut for ‘abandoning nonprofit mission’

Maryland’s top insurance regulator has ruled that the former CEO of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield is entitled to half his $18 million severance package, The Baltimore Sun reported July 15 (see CareFirst CEO story). The ruling accuses William L. Jews, who had pushed a controversial bid to transform the state’s largest insurer into a for-profit company, of abandoning the insurer’s nonprofit mission.

Colombian president apologizes to Red Cross

Colombian president Alvaro Uribe has apologized to the International Red Cross after learning that a Colombian soldier used the humanitarian-aid group’s insignia in a recent operation to free 15 hostages held by Colombian rebels, The Associated Press reported July 16 (see Colombia, Red Cross story). Use of the Red Cross symbol for military operations violates the first Geneva Convention because it would damage the group’s neutrality and could endanger medical personnel using the symbol.

In Brief:

* U.S. Rep. Charles B. Rangel may have broken ethics rules by using House stationery to solicit corporate donations for an academic center that bears his name, The Washington Post reported July 16.

* A Washington, D.C., nonprofit that provides meals to homebound HIV-AIDS and cancer patients is scaling back its services amid controversy over the size of its director’s compensation package, The Washington Post reported July 17.

* The American Red Cross faces persistent quality-control problems with its blood supply, despite a federal court order to improve, and the threat of criminal charges against board members, The New York Times reported July 17.

* As bonus checks start coming in from leases related to a new natural gas discovery, rumors of instant millionaires in northwest Louisiana are leading residents to hope for greater philanthropy in the region, The Shreveport Times said in an editorial July 8.

* A Nashville city councilman wants criminals to pay a fee that would support domestic-violence organizations and other victims’ groups, WSMV reported July 15.

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