Nonprofit news roundup for Oct. 15, 2008

Buffett tops list of most generous donors

Warren Buffett topped the list of the 50 most-generous philanthropists, based on how much he has donated to charitable causes compared to his net worth, Conde Nast Portfolio reported Oct. 15. With a net worth of $52 billion, Buffett donated $46.1 billion from 2002 to 2006. Others in the top 10 include Bill Gates of Microsoft, Eli Broad of SunAmerica, George Soros of Soros Fund Management, and Pierre Omidyar of eBay.

Donor-advised funds surge in popularity

Donor-advised funds, which give donors more flexibility and control in their giving, are fast becoming the most popular form of charitable giving in the U.S., The San Francisco Chronicle reported Oct. 14. Also known as “giving while living,” these funds allow donors to open accounts with as little as $10,000 and track the impact of their charitable dollars.

Wealth advisors not meeting donor needs, report says

Wealth advisors in Europe are not meeting the needs of philanthropists, says a study by New Philanthropy Capital, wise Partnership and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, Campden FO reported Oct. 15 (see advisor story). Though more wealth advisors are offering philanthropy services, these services are limited and many philanthropists remain uninformed about their options.

MIT gets $1 million from Steinbrenner Foundation

The Steinbrenner Foundation has donated $1 million to the athletic department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to upgrade its stadium, which is named after the father of George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees, the Associated Press reported Oct. 14. The donation will outfit Steinbrenner Stadium with a new entrance and pathway, lighting and seating improvements, and a new press box.

Lilly Foundation gives $3 million for diabetes research

The Indianapolis-based Lilly Foundation has given a $3 million grant to the Joslin Diabetes Center to fund studies targeting the underlying causes of obesity and insulin resistance, The Indianapolis Star reported Oct. 14 (see diabetes story). The center aims to tackle these two leading causes of diabetes, which affects more than 200 million people worldwide.

In Brief:

* While a $10 million donation was enough to secure a philanthropist a spot on the list of most generous donors a decade ago, people donating $100 million or more are bumping the old players from the roster, says Helaine Olen in a column in the November 2008 issue of Conde Nast Portfolio.

* Donations drop by 1 percent during economic recessions, forcing nonprofits to deal with soaring community needs on a tighter budget, says Giving USA, the annual yearbook on philanthropy, WISH TV 8 reported Oct. 14.

* High Point University has received a $2 million cash gift from an anonymous Pennsylvania donor for building projects and academic programs, High Point University Campus News reported Oct. 14.

* Philanthropy executives provide clues as to who might be behind some of the biggest anonymous donations in the past two years in a column from the November 2008 issue of Conde Nast Portfolio.

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