Nonprofit news roundup for Nov. 14, 2008

Wallace Foundation gives nearly $7M to arts groups

The New York-based Wallace Foundation has given a total of $5.3 million in grants to eight Twin Cities arts organizations to help them bring in new audiences, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Nov. 13. The foundation also plans to give $1.6 million over four years to Arts Midwest and the Minnesota Community Foundation to create a learning network among arts organizations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The nearly $7 million gift is the largest single-year commitment the foundation has made to arts groups in the area.

Former foundation executive indicted for theft

A former official of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation was indicted for defrauding the organization of more than $1 million, The New York Times reported Nov. 13 (see theft story). Jonathan Stenger, the foundation’s former director of communications and publications, is charged with enlisting the help of four friends to bill the organization for supplies he never ordered. Stenger, who was fired from the organization last year for overstating his travel expenses, could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Chairman of humanities endowment to step down

Bruce Cole, who has led the National Endowment for the Humanities since 2001, announced he will leave the organization in January, The New York Times reported Nov. 13 (see humanities story). Cole, former professor of fine arts and comparative literature at Indiana University, plans to join the American Revolution Center, a museum that is being developed in Valley Forge, Pa.

In Brief:

* Many executives at Boston companies are shifting their approaches and turning to in-kind donations to keep from breaking their commitments to nonprofits, The Boston Business Journal reported Nov. 14 [subscription only].

* The former director of the Better Brooklyn Community Center was accused of stealing more than $500,000 in federal aid that was intended to buy food for children from low-income families, Newsday reported Nov. 13.

* Critics have expressed concern that environmental groups and their corporate sponsors are too close for comfort, Fortune magazine reported Nov. 14.

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