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Nonprofit news roundup for Aug. 25, 2008

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Nonprofit insurers feel pressure to merge, go for-profit

Squeezed by competition from large national insurers, New Jersey nonprofit Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield has filed an application to convert to for-profit status, and Pittsburgh-based Highmark Inc. and Philadelphia-based Independence Blue Cross are seeking approval for a proposed merger, The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 24 (see insurance story) [subscription only]. With their strong operations and high enrollment, Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans are attractive acquisition options for many large managed-care companies.

Baby Boomers drawn to ‘encore careers’

Baby Boomers, ages 44 to 70, are interested in “encore careers,” second jobs that focus on public service and philanthropy, says a nationwide survey, The St. Petersburg Times reported Aug. 25 (see encore story). Six to nine of every 100 people surveyed already work in an encore career, and half of those who don’t said they would like to in the future.

Demand rises for ‘green-collar’ workers

The number of “green-collar” jobs is skyrocketing as companies step up environmental initiatives, the Associated Press reported Aug. 25 (see green story). Renewable energy and energy-efficient industries created nearly 8.5 million jobs in 2006, and the number is expected to reach 40 million by 2030, says a report by the American Solar Energy Society.

GOP urged to reject debt-forgiveness campaign

Curley Hoagland, a Republican National Committee member from North Dakota, will urge Republican legislators to ignore lobbyists for the ONE Campaign, a nonprofit group that advocates debt forgiveness for poor countries, The Washington Times reported Aug. 25 (see campaign story). Hoagland argues the ONE Campaign is an effort by a nonprofit to lobby for specific legislation, and therefore is prohibited by law.

Nonprofit architects design for social change

San Francisco-based nonprofit Public Architecture has created the “1%” campaign to encourage architects to pledge 1 percent of their billable hours to building sustainable and well-designed public spaces, The Boston Globe reported Aug. 24 (see architecture story). The number of “1%” architects has shot up dramatically, from 150 to just over 400 firms across 42 states in the last nine months.

In brief:

* The Triangle chapter of Dress for Success, a nonprofit that provides underprivileged women seeking employment with work-appropriate clothes, officially launched its operations at Northgate Mall in Durham, N.C., The News & Observer reported Aug. 25.

* Thousands of California children are in danger of losing their health insurance after premiums increased for the state’s Healthy Families program, which pays for medical care for more than 850,000 children from low-income families, The Los Angeles Times reported Aug. 24.

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