Nonprofit news roundup for Oct. 13, 2008

Rich seen getting richer

Against the backdrop of a spiraling economy, not only have the rich been getting richer, they are becoming more numerous, The Detroit Free Press reported Oct. 12 (see wealth story). Since 1979, average real income in the U.S. has risen 20 percent for those in the middle-income bracket, compared to 300 percent for those in the top 0.1 percent in terms of income, say economic researchers at Goldman Sachs. Further, the number of households with a net worth greater than $10 million increased more than fivefold between 1989 and 2004, says a report from the Brookings Institution.

Universities, charities hit by Icelandic bank collapse

The financial crisis in Iceland may cost English universities and charities millions in investments, The Guardian reported Oct. 10 (see crisis story). Though the Higher Education Funding Council for England is conducting a survey of universities and colleges to determine how much was invested in Icelandic banks, officials insist losses are small in relation to overall endowments.

Wall Street crisis strikes Hawaii nonprofits

Nonprofits in Hawaii are bracing for a steep drop in investment returns due to the Wall Street meltdown, The Honolulu Advertiser reported Oct. 12. The Contemporary Museum in Makiki Heights, which will see no return on its $5 million endowment this year, is laying off about half its staff and canceling a planned exhibit. It is unknown how many of the state’s more than 5,000 nonprofits have Wall Street investments.

Officials cut New York nonprofits slack over financial forms

New York City officials have determined that about 125 nonprofits do not have to file financial disclosure forms mandated by a state law passed two years ago, The New York Times reported Oct. 11 (see form story). The law requires board members of nonprofit organizations that are “affiliated with, sponsored by or created by a county, city, town or village government” to file lengthy financial forms to increase transparency. The Conflicts of Interest Board and city lawyers concluded that, at most, 30 nonprofits fit this description.

University of Ottawa braces for losses

Scholarships and financial aid at the University of Ottawa are set to take a hit if the U.S. and Canadian stock markets continue their downward spiral, CBC News reported Oct. 9 (see scholarship story). The university’s endowment, which stood at $142 million at the end of last year, expects a loss of at least 10 percent this year.

In Brief:

* Boston College has launched a $1.5 billion fundraising campaign, the largest in its history, to fund campus expansions, financial aid and a range of new academic and religious programs, The Boston Globe reported Oct. 12.

* Universities, instead of amassing more wealth, should spend at least 5 percent of their endowments to help students struggling with tuition payments, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa says in an opinion column in The Los Angeles Times Oct. 12.

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