Nonprofit news roundup for Aug. 6, 2008

Charities ask Congress to ease gas burden for volunteers

In response to lower volunteer turnout, more than 100 charitable organizations signed a letter asking Congress to raise the tax deduction for use of a personal car while performing volunteer service from the current rate of 14 cents per mile, The New York Times reported Aug. 5 (see gas story). Four senators plan to announce a proposal on Wednesday to reset the charitable mileage deduction to 70 percent of the corporate deduction, which is currently 58.5 cents per mile.

Biotech Center rejects Golden LEAF grant

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center announced that it will not accept a grant from Golden LEAF to support a proposed biodefense lab, WRAL reported Aug. 5 (see biodefense story). In a letter to the foundation, the center’s CEO Norris Tolson cited restrictions on funds as the reason for the rejecting the grant of about $260,000.

Clinton to focus foundation’s efforts on AIDS in U.S.

Former President Bill Clinton announced that his foundation will shift its focus from the global AIDS epidemic to fighting AIDS in the U.S., The Washington Post reported Aug. 5 (see AIDS story). The announcement comes in response to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that indicate the U.S. AIDS epidemic has been underestimated by 40 percent.

Donor complaint may have caused shakeup at Oxford

Jon Dellandrea, the top fundraiser at Oxford University, has taken a long vacation amid rumors he was ousted due to a conflict with American tycoon Michael Moritz, The Telegraph reported Aug. 5 (see Oxford story). Moritz, who donated £25 million, or about $48.7 million, to Christ Church College last month, accused Dellandrea of being “obtuse” and “uncooperative.”

In brief:

* Five Massachusetts men have been indicted on charges that they posed as fundraisers for charity, using approximately $100,000 in donations for car and house payments, jewelry and other personal expenses, The Boston Globe reported Aug. 5.

* Melvin D. Levine, a physician and co-founder of Chapel Hill nonprofit All Kinds of Minds, was accused in March of sexually abusing five former patients when they were boys, and the allegations are not the first against the physician, The New York Times reported Aug. 5.

* Irish philanthropy efforts, though in their infancy and facing economic hardship, have the potential to thrive, Jackie Harrison said in an opinion column in The Irish Times Aug. 6.

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