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Nonprofit news roundup for Oct. 17, 2008

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Economic crisis takes toll on colleges

The continuing economic crisis is hitting college campuses, with endowment funds shrinking, credit markets tightening, and state subsidies dwindling, The Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 17 (see higher education story). The downturn could bring to an end the higher-education boom that saw spikes in fundraising, growing endowment returns and climbing tuition. Falling markets likely will dampen donations and families may not be able to pay rising tuition bills as tanking home prices drain their borrowing power.

Connecticut nonprofits curb spending

Due to flat state funding, many Connecticut nonprofits are putting off building repairs, cutting programs and leaving vacant positions unfilled, the Associated Press reported Oct. 16 (see funding story). The Connecticut Community Providers Association is seeking a nearly $65 million increase in nonprofit funding for each of the next two fiscal years when lawmakers pass a new two-year budget in January. However, state budget deficits make this increase unlikely, says Robert Genuario, budget chief for Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

Wal-Mart, Kroger top lists of most generous companies

Wal-Mart and Kroger earned first-place spots on two separate lists of the most generous corporate donors, Forbes reported Oct. 16 (see generosity story). While Wal-Mart Stores donated the most money to charity last year at $301 million, Kroger donated the most as a percentage of operating income. In 2007, the company donated $57 million, or 1.7 percent of its $3.3 billion operating income from the previous year.

Homeowners turn to nonprofits for mortgage help

Nonprofits are offering homeowners free help with mortgage payments during the credit crunch, CNN reported Oct. 16 (see mortgage story). Financial-counseling organizations such as SCORE and the Homeowner Preservation Foundation aim to alleviate anxiety and provide options for homeowners whose financial worries make them susceptible to predatory-lending practices.

In Brief:

* Minnesota colleges and universities are struggling to find willing donors for their capital fundraising drives, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported Oct. 16.

* Using $1.3 million in gifts and matching funds, the University of North Carolina Wilmington will endow a slot for a professor of Innovation in the Nonprofit Sector to increase outreach involvement of the school’s students, and to work with area nonprofit, private and government leaders, The Wilmington Star News reported Oct. 16.

* Amid the stock market drop, Seattle University’s endowment has lost about 10 percent of its value, sinking to about $200 million and prompting the school to look for cost savings, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Oct. 16.

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