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Nonprofit news roundup for Nov. 5, 2008

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Harvard endowment to sell private-equity holdings

Harvard University is negotiating the sale of about $1.5 billion in private-equity holdings from its endowment, Bloomberg reported Nov. 4 (see holdings story). The $36.9 billion endowment put $1.01 billion into buyout firms in 2006 and 2007, hoping for bigger returns than those promised by public stocks and bonds. Among all investors, commitments to private-equity pools fell to $82.3 billion in the third quarter, their lowest level in three and a half years, according to London-based Private Equity Intelligence Ltd.

Charlotte United Way closes call center

In a move to save $100,000 a year, United Way of Central Carolinas is shutting down its in-house 211 call center, which connects callers with area nonprofits, The Charlotte Observer reported Nov. 5 (see call story). Charlotte residents will be able to get information about nonprofits through a similar program run by United Way of North Carolina, says interim president Mac Everett. The Charlotte-based agency has been struggling to regain public trust since a scandal erupted this summer over the compensation package of Gloria Pace King, former president and CEO.

In Brief:

* Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, urged wealthier countries not to respond to the global economic crisis by neglecting health needs in the developing world, The Boston Globe reported Nov. 5.

* Armed with fewer financial resources, San Antonio nonprofits are fighting to address greater community needs, The San Antonio Express-News reported Nov. 5.

* Spendster.org, a website set up by the National Endowment for Financial Education, aims to help visitors monitor their spending habits during a down economy, says Lauren Beale in a blog in The Los Angeles Times Nov. 4.

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