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Nonprofit news roundup for Sept. 3, 2008

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Smithsonian to cut salaries for top execs

The Smithsonian Institution plans to cut the salaries of 17 of its executives beginning five years from now, the Associated Press reported Aug. 30. Nonprofit watchdogs began to take notice of compensation at the museum complex when it came to light that former secretary Lawrence Small was paid nearly $916,000 in 2007. Small resigned in March 2007 after it was discovered he charged the Smithsonian for housekeeping and repairs to his home swimming pool.

Buffett’s daughter-in-law tries hand at philanthropy

Jennifer Buffett, daughter-in-law of investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett, shares her experience as a novice to family foundations in a column published in Fortune Sept. 2 (see women story). She discusses her and her husband’s decision to tackle issues facing women and the important role that women play in economic development and community well-being.

Immigrants face trials without attorneys

Nonprofits offering pro-bono legal services to immigrants are being stretched as the number of national defendants claiming to be unrepresented in immigration court reaches 58 percent, The Los Angeles Times reported Sept. 2 (see legal story). Individuals in immigration court, unlike defendants in criminal court, do not have the right to free representation. Without proper legal counsel, they risk deportation, political persecution and separation from their families.

Community-based tourism helps local economy, environment

Many tourists are opting to preserve communities and the environment by staying with local residents, The Christian Science Monitor reported Sept. 1 (see tourism story). Promoted by ResponsibleTravel.com and nonprofit Conservation International, community-based tourism gives visitors a first-hand glimpse into local cultures and supplies marginalized communities with much-needed revenue.

In brief:

* Harvard Management Co. achieved an endowment return of between 7 percent and 9 percent for fiscal 2008 by diversifying and investing in 11 noncash asset classes, The Wall Street Journal reported Sept. 3.

* The European Union’s highest court overturned a 2001 decision by member governments to freeze the assets of Sweden-based charity Al-Barakaat International and a Saudi businessman suspected of funding al-Qaida terror groups, saying the decision did not offer the suspects the right to a judicial review, the Associated Press reported Sept. 3.

* Shaun Alexander, former Seattle Seahawk running back, says his foundation will donate $25,000 to America’s Foundation for Chess to help bring chess to second- and third-grade classrooms in Kentucky and the surrounding area, MarketWatch reported Sept. 2.

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