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Nonprofit news roundup for Sept. 30, 2008

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Wall Street crisis strikes big foundations

Big foundations are beginning to feel the fallout from troubles on Wall Street, The New York Times reported Sept. 29 (see foundation story). The assets of the New York-based Starr Foundation, which held 15.5 million shares of insurer American International Group in May, have plummeted by one-third since the end of 2006. It remains to be seen whether the blow to foundations will have a serious impact on their donations to nonprofits.

Highest-paid nonprofit chief execs named

James J. Mongan, chief executive of Partners HealthCare System in Boston, is the highest-paid chief executive among the nation’s largest nonprofits with a total compensation package of over $1.37 million, says a survey by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Boston Globe reported Sept. 29. Henry S. Bienen, president of Northwestern University, took second place.

Arts organizations regroup to draw audiences

Faced with declining attendance from not only the lagging economy, but also from the growing popularity of the Internet and home theaters, nonprofit arts organizations are changing the formats of their performances to attract crowds, The Los Angeles Times reported Sept. 30 (see dance story). Symphonies, operas and dance companies are creating interactive experiences, featuring discussions, lessons and multimedia, to boost lagging ticket sales.

In Brief:

* Washington Post Co. has agreed to buy Foreign Policy magazine from the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace, the Associated Press reported Sept. 29.

* Giving circles are gaining the same level of popularity that investment circles enjoyed in the ‘80s, says Sean Stannard-Stockton in an opinion column in The Financial Times Sept. 30.

* Adopting sustainability as a core financial strategy maximizes benefits and minimizes risks for universities, says Peter W. Bardaglio in a blog on The Chronicle of Higher Education website Sept. 30 [subscription only].

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