Nonprofit news roundup for July 28, 2008

Volunteerism rate dips for second straight year

The percentage of American adults who volunteer fell in 2007 for the second year in a row, dropping to 26.2 percent, the Associated Press reported July 27 (see volunteering story). The Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency, used Census Bureau data to determine its region, state and city rankings based on three-year averages for 2005 through 2007. By region, the Midwest had the highest rate, at 31.1 percent. Utah ranked highest among states, at 43
percent and Minneapolis-St. Paul was the top city, at 39.3 percent. Rapid turnover was one of the reasons the national rate dropped again after growing to 28.8 percent in 2005. Nationally, about one in three people who volunteer in a given year do not do so the following year.

Texas man offers $1 billion for breast cancer cure

Mike Dewey has a plan to eliminate breast cancer: He’s offering $1 billion to the person who discovers the cure, the Associated Press reported July 27 (see breast cancer
). Never mind the fact the 48-year-old Austin, Texas, consultant has nothing close to that much money. Dewey, whose daughters are at increased risk for the disease
because his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, says he’ll come up with the cash if a cure is found. He says he hassecured about $22 million in pledges so far and about $90,000 in actual donations through his nonprofit foundation.

Relatives of televangelist prosper

In the hills of north Texas, televangelist Kenneth Copeland has built a religious empire teaching that god wants his followers to prosper. Over the years, a circle of Copeland’s relatives and friends have done just that, the Associated Press reported July 26 (see televangelist story). They include the brother-in-law with a lucrative deal to broker Copeland’s television time, the son who acquired church-owned land for his ranching business and saw it more than quadruple in value, and board members who together have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for speaking at church events. Church officials say no one improperly benefits through ties to Copeland’s vast
evangelical ministry, which claims more than 600,000 subscribers in 134 countries to its flagship “Believer’s Voice of Victory” magazine.

In brief:

* A closely allied group of prominent and controversial Russian billionaires has thrown its largesse behind a multinational philanthropic fund to develop Jewish identity among Russian speakers worldwide, JTA reported July 28.

* Oxford University’s major fundraising ambitions designed to help it compete with Ivy League colleges appear to have run into problems, with a clash of egos between      Michael Moritz, the California millionaire appointed to head fundraising in North America, and Jon Dellandrea, the university’s pro vice chancellor, The Daily Telegraph reported July 28.

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