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Nonprofit news roundup for Sept. 29, 2008

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Economic pinch reaches wealthy Americans

Even America’s wealthy are being squeezed by the Wall Street crises, with over half planning to give less to charitable causes this year, says a survey by Prince & Associates, Forbes reported Sept. 26. More than seven in 10 affluent Americans said they felt a significant adverse impact from the current state of the economy, up from fewer than six in10 in April. This could mean bad news for charities, which get about two-thirds of household contributions from the wealthiest 3 percent of Americans, says the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Paul Newman, actor and philanthropist, dies

Paul Newman, iconic philanthropist and actor whose achievements transcended Hollywood glitz and glamour, died at his Westport, Conn., home after a long battle with cancer, The Guardian reported Sept. 27 (see Newman story). The star of films such as “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Sting” and “The Color of Money,” Newman also gained fame for his line of food products, Newman’s Own, the proceeds of which went to charity. Newman also helped found the Hole in the Wall camps for children with life-threatening illnesses.

Los Angeles art museum gets $45 million

Lynda and Stewart Resnick gave $45 million and promised $10 million in artworks to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for a new exhibition pavilion, The New York Times reported Sept. 29 (see museum story). The Resnicks, known for their collection of old master paintings and sculpture, chair Roll International, a private holding company that owns one of the largest citrus producers in the U.S.

MoMA director named industry’s highest paid

Glenn Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, received a total compensation package of $1.7 million last year, making him the highest-paid chief executive of a U.S. nonprofit art institution, Bloomberg reported Sept. 29 (see MoMA story). Peter Gelb, general manager of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, came in second with a $1.1 million compensation package, says a survey by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

In Brief:

* While more prominent American universities saw decent returns on their endowment investments, lesser-known schools struggled to break even, says Alison Go in a blog on U.S. News and World Report Sept. 26.

* As lawmakers broker a bailout of faltering Wall Street firms, nonprofits brace for a one-two punch of waning donations and greater need, The Times-Picayune reported Sept. 27.

* Some donors, tired of low accountability, are narrowing their contributions to carefully-vetted charities and demanding greater transparency and control, The International Herald Tribune reported Sept. 28.

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