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Nonprofit news roundup for Nov. 12, 2008

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U.S. universities struggle to maintain financial-aid programs

U.S. colleges and universities are struggling to avoid cutting financial aid as the market meltdown takes a bite out of endowments, The New York Times reported Nov. 10 (see financial aid story). Since many institutions admit wealthier students as a way to ward off financial troubles, the economic downturn is making it less likely that colleges and universities will be able to admit all students regardless of need.

National Public Radio gets new president

Vivian Schiller, who heads the online operations of The New York Times, will take over as president and chief executive of National Public Radio effective Jan. 5, The New York Times reported Nov. 11 (see NPR story). Schiller previously served as executive vice president and general manager of the Discovery Times Channel and head of long-form programming at CNN. With a budget of over $150 million and an endowment of more than $240 million, NPR provides news and entertainment programming to more than 800 public radio stations in the U.S.

Gates Foundation boosts education efforts

As part of its efforts to promote education, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aims to double the amount of low-income students in the U.S. who complete a college or post-high-school degree, The Seattle Times reported Nov. 11 (see education story). The foundation, which has spent a total of $4 billion on education in the past eight years, also plans to secure higher salaries for effective teachers, improve the performance of “average” teachers, develop better tests and devise a national set of learning standards for high schools.

Credit crisis takes toll on ‘philanthrocapitalism’

As the biggest players in capitalism struggle to stay afloat after a series of crippling blows, many wonder whether “philanthrocapitalism,” a more businesslike approach to charitable giving, is under threat as well, The New York Times reported Nov. 11 (see capitalism story). In order to maintain their relevance, philanthrocapitalists are forgoing large donations and using their leverage to influence how the government and corporations spend their money.

Toyota picks up slack for U.S. auto makers

As lawmakers negotiate a possible bailout of the ailing U.S. auto industry, Toyota has stepped in to make up for group’s dip in charitable giving, The New York Times reported in a special giving section Nov. 10 (see auto industry story). Toyota, which has five plants in the U.S. and is set to open a sixth in 2010, donated a total of $57 million to schools, arts organizations, environmental groups and other American charities last year.

In Brief:

* Though transitioning from the corporate world to a nonprofit career has its rewards, there are many things to consider before getting started, says Toddi Gutner in an opinion column in The Wall Street Journal Nov. 11.

* As donations dry up and demand skyrockets, the future is uncertain for food banks and the people they serve, The New York Times reported Nov. 10.

* Donors should tap into their donor-advised funds to continue their charitable giving during the economic downturn, says Shelly Banjo in an opinion column in The Wall Street Journal Nov. 12.

* The seeds of philanthropy are taking root in China, partly as a result of improved policy and a greater willingness by wealthy donors to be recognized for their contributions, says Paul French in a column in Ethical Corporation magazine Nov. 12.

* Walking the Walk, a program organized by the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia, brings together high-school students of different faiths to foster understanding and cooperation, The New York Times reported in a special giving section Nov. 10.

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