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Nonprofit news roundup for Sept. 2, 2008

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Hurricane Gustav brings flood of scams

Nearly 100 domains containing the words “gustav,” “charity,” “hurricane,” and “relief” were registered the weekend before Hurricane Gustav hit the Gulf Coast, Computerworld reported Aug. 31. Many of these may be charity scams designed to steal money and identities, security experts say. Of the hundreds of donation sites that appeared online after Hurricane Katrina, there were enough charity scams to prompt the U.S. Department of Justice to set up a Katrina anti-fraud task force.

Gates Foundation gets new CEO

Jeff Raikes, former president of Microsoft’s business software division, has stepped in as the CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Associated Press reported Sept. 1. Raikes, who is the second leader of the foundation since it was created in 1997, replaces Patty Stonesifer, another former Microsoft executive and friend of Bill and Melinda Gates.

Google to combat disease with weather data

Google.org, the technology company’s philanthropic arm, is convening African weather and health experts in Nairobi to investigate the impact of climate change on the spread of disease, The New York Times reported Sept. 1 (see weather story). Other groups, including the Millennium Villages Project of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, are creating low-tech weather stations to transmit data to be used for predicting and preventing outbreaks.

Three rules bolster corporate philanthropy

Corporate philanthropic leader Google follows three rules, which it recommends to other corporations trying to get the most out of their philanthropic efforts, CFO Magazine reported Sept. 1 (see corporate story). Google encourages companies to “be good with what they’re good at,” stick close to what matters to their business, and not be afraid of turning a profit by doing good.

Kresge sets standard for investment strategy

By finding little-known niche investments, the Troy, Mich.-based Kresge Foundation has been beating bigger players like Harvard and Yale in endowment returns, The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 30 (see Kresge story). The $3.8-billion foundation, which makes small hedge-fund investments and credit-default swaps, returned 9.3 percent for the fiscal year ending in June, compared with a median return of negative 4.7 percent for foundations with $1 billion or more in assets, the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service says.

In brief:

* Michael Phelps, the Baltimore native who won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympic Games in swimming, plans to create a foundation to promote the sport, The Baltimore Sun reported Sept. 2.

* Due to dwindling corporate sponsorships and falling attendance, many charities in the Hamptons are cutting expenses by downsizing, or “repositioning,” their events, Newsday reported Sept. 1.

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