Nonprofit news roundup for Oct. 9, 2008

Donors should be more selective, professor says

As the economy tanks and Wall Street struggles to regroup after a series of bankruptcies and buyouts, philanthropists should be more strategic about choosing organizations to receive charitable dollars, says Raymond Fisman, professor of social enterprise at Columbia University, in an opinion column in Forbes Oct. 8. Donors should use resources such as watchdog groups and foundations to assess which organizations most effectively address growing needs, he says.

Health gap seen along income, education lines

A significant gap exists nationwide between the overall health of children born into families of different income and education levels, says a study released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America, The Los Angeles Times reported Oct. 8. Children born to women who never graduated from high school were found to be more likely to die before their first birthday than children of women who graduated from college, the study says.

Change afoot for, an online community aimed at effecting social change, plans to publish 13 individual blogs dedicated to specific topics, Newsweek reported Oct. 8 (see blog story). The site aims to become a media hub where its 120,000 members can find the latest news and information on social issues, says Josh Levy, managing editor for

New Orleans returns guns as part of settlement

New Orleans officials plan to return hundreds of firearms that were confiscated from citizens after Hurricane Katrina, the Associated Press reported Oct. 8 (see firearms story). The move is part of a deal to reach a settlement between the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation, which filed a lawsuit claiming the confiscation violated citizens’ constitutional right to bear arms.

In Brief:

* A wealth researcher at Boston College predicts the stock-market tumble may not take as much of a toll on philanthropy as fundraisers expect, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported Oct. 8.

* The Tony Award Administration Committee has unveiled the Isabelle Stevenson Award for people in the theater community who have devoted time and energy to humanitarian, social-service or charitable organizations, The Los Angeles Times reported Oct. 8.

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