Nonprofit news roundup for Sept. 10, 2008

Board members demand Acorn documents

Two board members from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or Acorn, are seeking a court order to force the organization to hand over financial documents after an embezzlement scandal erupted in June, The New York Times reported Sept. 9 (see Acorn story). The board members, Marcel Reid and Karen Inman, also are trying to distance Acorn from its founder, Wade Rathke, who resigned as chief organizer after it came to light that his brother Dale embezzled nearly $1 million from the organization eight years ago.

Used-car donations plummet

As a result of changes in tax law, donating used vehicles to charity does not give the tax benefit it once did, The Wall Street Journal reported Sept. 10 (see car story). The changes, made in 2005 in response to concerns that donors were exaggerating their deduction amounts, led to a 67 percent drop in used-car donations that year. Donors now can deduct only the selling price of the vehicle, as opposed to its fair-market value.

Foundation redirects funds to basic needs

The Silicon Valley Community Foundation, in light of recent mortgage and fuel crises, is diverting its remaining 2008 funds to basic-needs programs from traditional arts and culture initiatives, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Sept. 10 (see basic needs story). The foundation will donate $1 million this year to programs providing food and shelter.

In brief:

* The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is offering $100,000 each for unorthodox ideas for fighting AIDS, malaria and other diseases, The Seattle Times reported Sept. 9.

* Even some foundation executives tout the benefits of donor-advised funds over private foundations, including privacy and higher tax deductions, The New York Times reported Sept. 9.

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