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Nonprofit news roundup for Sept. 9, 2008

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Educators oppose higher endowment spending

Two dozen university officials argued against a proposal by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and Democratic Rep. Peter Welch to set at 5 percent the amount university endowments are required to spend annually, The New York Times reported Sept. 8 (see university story). While educators argued that institutions have more than doubled student aid in the last 10 years, Grassley asked whether universities were doing enough for society to justify their $17-billion tax exemption. Neither lawmaker made any hint at future legislation.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac takeover worries nonprofits

Washington, D.C.-area nonprofits are concerned that the federal government’s takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will mean lower donations to charitable initiatives, The Washington Post reported Sept. 8 (see mortgage story). The companies had become two of the largest corporate givers in the area, with the now-defunct Fannie Mae Foundation donating more than $1 billion to education, affordable housing, education and economic-development programs since 1979.

Online tool teaches children philanthropy

Web-based parenting forum Urban Baby has launched ECHOage, an online event-planning tool that allows children’s-party invitees to pool their money for one larger gift while devoting half of their monetary contribution to one of seven charitable organizations, The Financial Times reported Sept. 9 (see party story). The tool aims to teach children financial and community responsibility while toning down the perceived excessiveness of children’s parties.

Alcoholic beverage sparks lawsuit

The nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest has sued MillerCoors, the second-largest U.S. beer company, in an effort to remove its caffeinated alcoholic beverage Sparks from shelves in Washington, D.C., The Wall Street Journal reported Sept. 9 (see beer story). The consumer-advocacy group alleges the combination of alcohol and stimulants in the beverage poses health and safety risks for consumers.

In brief:

* IBM pledged to contribute $250 million in pro-bono services to nonprofits through its Corporate Services Corps, a program that sends IBM employees to developing countries to help address business and technology problems, the Associated Press reported Sept. 8.

* Kate Dewey, principal of Dewey & Kaye consulting firm for nonprofits, won the 2008 ATHENA Award, which recognizes women demonstrating professional excellence and community responsibility, The Pittsburgh Business Times reported Sept. 8.

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