Nonprofit news roundup for Sept. 12, 2008

Arts agency chairman to step down

Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts since March 2003, plans to announce that he will leave in January after years of restoring trust and funding to the federal agency, The Washington Post reported Sept. 12 (see arts story). Gioia, a prize-winning poet and literary critic, is joining the Aspen Institute, an international organization that conducts forums on pressing issues, in a part-time position that will allow him to devote more time to his writing. He is credited with launching a series of successful initiatives while at the Endowment, including programs on Shakespeare and adult literacy.

Oprah tops list of generous celebrities

Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey tops a list of the 30 most generous celebrities for the second year running, Reuters reported Sept. 12 (see celebrity story). The Oprah Winfrey Foundation and Oprah’s Angel Network spent a total of $50.2 million in 2007 on education, health care and advocacy for women and children worldwide. Trumpeter and A&M records co-founder Herb Alpert was the runner-up, with singer-actress Barbra Streisand coming in third.

SMU launches largest campaign to date

Southern Methodist University is set to launch a five-year $750-million campaign, the largest in the university’s history, The Dallas Morning News reported Sept. 12. The university, which will use donations for research, scholarships and campus improvements, already has gotten commitments for $317 million in the past two years.

Harvard’s investment company gets new manager

Stephen Blyth will step in to oversee the internal investment management effort of Boston-based Harvard Management Company, which invests the university’s $35-billion endowment, Reuters reported Sept. 11 (see Harvard story). Blyth, who earned his doctorate in statistics from Harvard, joined the management company two years ago to help rebuild a depleted fixed-income team.

In brief:

* In recognition of the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the ServiceNation campaign unveiled plans at a summit in New York to increase American volunteers to 100 million from 61 million by 2020, The Christian Science Monitor reported Sept. 12.

* Many nonprofits looking to trim costs do not realize they are eligible for the U.S. Communities National Buying Program, a California-based purchasing pool that helps state and local governments save money on office supplies and furniture, Scott Russell said in a column in Sept. 11.

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