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Nonprofit news roundup for Nov. 3, 2008

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University of Virginia’s investments take record hit

The University of Virginia’s investments have suffered the largest loss in the school’s history, dropping nearly $600 million to $4.6 billion at the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year, The Charlottesville Daily Progress reported Oct. 31. And investments dipped another $600 million since the end of the first quarter, putting their estimated value at $4 billion, says a report from the university’s investment manager. The school has been combating the drop with a five-year fundraising campaign, which has raised $147 million since the beginning of the fiscal year beginning in July.

Victoria Foundation freezes grantmaking

The Victoria Foundation in British Columbia has halted grantmaking in response to the financial crisis, The Times Colonist reported Nov. 1 (see grantmaking story). The foundation, which gave $7 million in grants to more than 300 individuals and groups last year, has not made any grants since the end of August.

Zimbabwe pockets $7.3 million meant to fight disease

The government of Zimbabwe, led by President Robert Mugabe, has used for its own purposes $7.3 million donated by an international organization to fight deadly epidemics, says the organization’s inspector general, The New York Times reported Nov. 2 (see disease story). The organization, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which has not received reimbursement for the funds, says the Zimbabwean government’s actions may jeopardize consideration of an additional $188 million grant.

New model studied for evaluating nonprofits

Nonprofits in the Washington, D.C., area are teaming up to create a national model for measuring nonprofit effectiveness, The Washington Business Journal reported Oct. 31 (see model story). The new system, which uses six data-driven metrics to rate how much good nonprofits are doing, is meant to fix the current trend of judging organizations based how much they spend on overhead.

In Brief:

* Charitable giving in the U.S. is largely immune to economic crises, with philanthropy rates seen rising after traumatic events, The Irish Times reported Nov. 3.

* Badly bruised by the credit crisis, charitable foundations in Maine likely will cut back on the more than $100 million a year they traditionally give to Maine nonprofits, The Portland Press Herald reported Nov. 2.

* Nonprofits in North Texas are bracing for a rough winter as needs grow and donations plummet, The Dallas Morning News reported Nov. 3.

* Canadian universities may have to cut programs and student funding after losing hundreds of millions of dollars in investment holdings, The Globe and Mail reported Nov. 3.

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