Nonprofit news roundup for July 22, 2008

Federal conservation program may be in jeopardy

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer is considering allowing farmers to opt out of a program that pays them to protect swamps, native grasslands and other environmentally important areas found on their land, National Public Radio reported July 18 (see conservation program story). Under consideration is allowing 450,000 farmers to turn conserved areas back into fields and pastures without giving back the money they were paid to protect those resources. Environmental groups say the program prevents more than 400 million tons worth of erosion every year and supports millions of birds.

Home-state groups promote active citizenship in immigrants

Home-state groups, immigrant community-action groups that promote development projects in their members’ state, city or country of origin, are jump-starting active citizenship among Dallas-area immigrants, The Dallas Morning News reported July 16 (see home-state groups story). Mexicans have been especially active in forming these civic groups, which a new report says are often as beneficial to U.S. civic life as to that of the members’ home countries.

Humane Society’s assets double under assertive leader

Wayne Pacelle, chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, has re-tooled the organization from a mild-mannered protector of dogs and cats into an aggressive group flexing its muscle on behalf of all animals, The Los Angeles Times reported July 19 (see humane society story). Under Pacelle, the organization has doubled its assets to $207 million.

In Brief:

* James Ebbert, the son of a sharecropper who lived modestly in Quakertown, Pa., left a $10 million fortune to nonprofit groups when he died last December, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported July 20.

*The University of Maryland, Baltimore, reached its goal for the 2007-08 fundraising year by bringing in more than $69 million, Baltimore Business Journal reported July 21. UMB expects within the next year to surpass its $74 million goal in a campaign launched in the early 1990s.

*Recent vandalism in the Chicago suburb of Medinah has endangered the Medinah Baptist Church’s efforts to give used cars to singlemothers, the Associated Press reported July 18.

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