Nonprofit news roundup for Nov. 11, 2008

Nonprofits brace for holiday cutbacks

Though few charitable-giving experts predict a disastrous drop in donations, many nonprofits are preparing for leaner times as a result of the stock-market meltdown, The New York Times reported in a special giving section Nov. 10 (see meltdown story). While charitable giving is expected to make a less dramatic decline than stock markets, the timing of the market collapse may slash holiday donations, Patrick Rooney, interim executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, told the Times.

Colleges offer training for future nonprofit leaders

A surge of interest in nonprofit work among young people has prompted colleges and universities across the U.S. to offer nonprofit-management and leadership courses, The New York Times reported Nov. 10 (see training story). More than 230 American institutions offer courses in these areas, up from 179 a decade ago, says a study by Seton Hall University. This is welcome news for current nonprofit executives, seven in 10 of whom say they plan to leave their jobs in the next five years.

Transaction-based philanthropy draws ire from idealists

Though the move rubs some idealists the wrong way, many charities are offering rewards, such as cruises and concerts, to encourage individuals to give back, The New York Times reported Nov. 10 (see transaction story). Transaction-based philanthropy, many donors say, encourages people to give during a down economy by promising special items or unusual experiences. But the costs of putting on special events or auctions may outweigh the benefits, says Patrick Rooney, interim executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

University of Colorado endowment loses $63M

The University of Colorado’s endowment lost $63 million in the Wall Street meltdown, bringing its value to $647 million at the end of September, the Associated Press reported Nov 10. The university’s foundation says the endowment’s investments have still gained $186 million over the past four years, and that the current drop is unlikely to affect scholarships and grants.

Dubai charity reaches overseas

Dubai Cares, a year-old charity based in the United Arab Emirates, plans to invest several million dollars in Room to Read, a San Francisco-based organization that builds schools and libraries, The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 11 (see charity story). Created by Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 2007, the charity raised $1 billion last year to fund primary-education programs in developing countries. U.S.-style foundations in the Middle East, a relatively new phenomenon, are expected to invest billions of dollars in nonprofit programs worldwide in the coming years.

In Brief:

* Harvard University’s $36.9 billion endowment may face “unprecedented” losses as a result of the economic downturn, says Drew Faust, the school’s president, Bloomberg reported Nov. 11.

* Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., is cutting spending after a $220 million endowment loss, the Associated Press reported Nov 10.

* U.S. hospitals are steeling themselves for a drop in fundraising as would-be donors regroup after the credit crisis, The New York Times reported Nov. 10.

* A deliveryman for the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged was shot to death in a Brooklyn apartment building after making a lunch delivery to homebound elderly residents, The New York Times reported Nov. 10.

* Three scientists, one from the U.S. and two from Canada, received the Kyoto Prize for services to society in the fields of computerized problem-solving, cell research and philosophy, Bloomberg reported Nov. 11.

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