Nonprofit news roundup for Oct. 24, 2008

Nonprofits seen ill-prepared for crisis

Nonprofits in the Washington, D.C., area are ill-prepared to weather a terrorist attack or natural disaster, says a recent emergency-preparedness plan, The Washington Post reported Oct. 24 (see disaster story). Relief organizations were found to have only 5 percent of the food and shelter needed to respond to a large-scale emergency. In order to prepare themselves for crises, nonprofits must develop a comprehensive communication system for disaster response, expand their mass-care capacities, develop methods to care for pets, better manage volunteers and strengthen partnerships, says the plan from Deloitte and the Nonprofit Roundtable.

Retired judge called in for Princeton trial

A retired judge will preside over a case filed in 2002 against Princeton University by the Robertson family, who accused the Ivy-League school of violating donor intent in allocating funds from the Robertson Foundation, The Times of Trenton reported Oct. 24 (see trial story). The family, which is trying to take back control of the $900 million foundation it started in 1961, alleges that Princeton diverted funds away from the foundation’s goal of preparing graduate students for government careers.

Gates Foundation funds off-beat ideas

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has donated more than $10 million in $100,000 grants to fund research into what one scientist calls “crazy” ideas for preventing and curing global epidemics, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Oct. 22 (see cure story). The 104 grant recipients, who may not have received funding through more traditional channels, include a Japanese scientist looking at a way to use mosquitoes to deliver vaccines and a Korean scientist researching the use of jellyfish proteins to prevent flu outbreaks.

University of Michigan grows endowment

The University of Michigan announced that its endowment grew to $7.6 billion in the 2008 fiscal year ended June 30, up from $7.1 billion in fiscal 2007, the Associated Press reported Oct. 23. The school says it has the second-largest endowment among public universities.

In Brief:

* Three foundations and an insurance fund have sued Wells Fargo Inc., accusing the financial company of defrauding them of more than $16 million by making risky investments in mortgage-backed securities, The San Francisco Business Times reported Oct. 23.

* A high-school sophomore from Dallas who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease has raised $100,000 for the Children’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, The Dallas Morning News reported Oct. 23.

* Actor Kirk Douglas was honored at a benefit dinner held by the Shoah Foundation, which was established by Steven Spielberg in 1994 to preserve the testimonies of Holocaust survivors, the Associated Press reported Oct. 23.

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