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Nonprofit news roundup for July 25, 2008

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Report on Shriners raises question of wrongdoing

The findings of an investigative committee established by the joint boards of the Shriners of North America fraternal organization and the Shriners Hospitals for Children
offer a glimpse into the inner workings of what is the nation’s wealthiest charity and suggest that questionable financial dealings identified at local Shrine temples may also plague the national organization, The New York Times reported July 25 (see Shriners report story).

Nonprofit says Ford Foundation supports anti-Israel groups

An investigation conducted by a nonprofit group that focuses on Jewish issues alleges the Ford Foundation has continued to support groups that portray Israel negatively, the JTA news service reported July 24 (see Ford Foundation story). JTA says a number of groups all have received Ford grants and signed onto boycott and divestment petitions against Israel. Those groups include: Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights; Muwatin: Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy; the Palestinian Center for Human Rights; and Miftah: the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy,

How far can nonprofits go this election season?

There’s a fine line between what nonprofits can and cannot do legally when it comes to politics, MSNBC.com reported July 25 (see political activity story). That line distinguishes issues-advocacy from partisan electioneering but, this election season, it’s a line that is blurred as more groups turn to the Internet to raise money and awareness for their favorite causes and candidates.

Bill encourages charitable efforts for storm victims

A group of U.S. senators and House members from the Midwest have introduced a bill that would create tax incentives for charitable giving to help victims of recent storms, tornadoes and floods that have hit the region, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported July 24 (see charitable efforts story). The Midwestern Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2008 would allow individuals and corporations to get unlimited charitable deductions for donations to relief efforts in the affected areas through the end of 2008.

New Web site focuses on green charitable projects

GlobalGiving, an online system through which garden-variety donors can give money to support international charitable projects, is going green, The New York Times reported July 25 (see green site story). The group is introducing a new Web site, GlobalGiving Green, that lists 25 projects it has determined entail minimal greenhouse gas emissions and work in ways that have a positive impact on climate change.

In brief:

* OffTheBus.net, the online citizen-journalist arm of the Huffington Post, celebrates its one-year anniversary this month, The New York Times reported July 23.

* Donors to the Jewish National Fund, a century-old organization known to generations of American Jews for planting  trees in Israel, are aging, and so the organization is working to attract and retain a younger demographic as well, The Wall Street Journal reported July 25.

* The Florence Crittenton League adoption agency in Lowell, Mass., faces the task of rebuilding its operations after a longtime employee stole $637,000 from it, The Boston Globe reported July 24.

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