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Nonprofit news roundup for Nov. 6, 2008

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Google.org economist tapped as Obama adviser

Sonal Shah, who heads global-development initiatives for Google’s philanthropic arm, has been appointed to President-elect Barack Obama’s advisory board, The India Times reported Nov. 6 (see adviser story). Before joining Google.org, she served as vice president of Goldman, Sachs & Co. Shah, who was born in India, also co-founded Indicorps, a U.S.-based nonprofit that offers Indian-Americans one-year fellowships to work on development projects in India.

Cornell raises tuition to fight credit crunch

Cornell University plans to raise its tuition fees by an unspecified amount to offset falling donations and a dwindling endowment, The Financial Times reported Nov. 5. Along with hiking tuition, which now stands at $20,000 to $36,000 a year, the Ivy-League school plans to freeze construction projects and “non-professional” outside hiring.

Obama’s win may boost nonprofits

President-elect Barack Obama’s Nov. 4 win may be a boon to nonprofits, says Kimberly Palmer in a column in U.S. News and World Report Nov. 5 (see victory story). Obama’s victory speech, which called for a new spirit of service and sacrifice among American people, may prompt more people to work or volunteer in the nonprofit sector, says Tom Pollak, program director for the National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute.

In Brief:

* Establishing a “social norm” for charitable giving, such as the 20 percent tip rule for servers at restaurants, could revitalize nonprofits and spur a new wave of volunteerism, says Nick Venning in an opinion column in The Birmingham Post Nov. 6.

* The rash of scary headlines about foreclosures and plunging stocks is even more reason for people to renew their commitments to the less fortunate, says Colleen Willoughby in an opinion column in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Nov. 5.

* Universities and hospital foundations in Ottawa are considering cutting funding for research, scholarships and equipment as the stock-market meltdown batters their investment portfolios, The Ottawa Citizen reported Nov. 5.

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