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Nonprofit news roundup for Nov. 18, 2008

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Nonprofit news sites emerge as traditional media crumbles

As newspapers and broadcast-news outlets die off, nonprofit news websites are cropping up throughout the U.S. to do the types of investigative stories once covered by mainstream media, The New York Times reported Nov. 17 (see media story). Web-based news outlets such as VoiceofSanDiego.org, MinnPost, ProPublica and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting provide in-depth news coverage while giving refugees from traditional news outlets a place to work. However, critics question the ability of small media nonprofits to remain impartial while accepting private funds.

U.S. university endowments continue downward spiral

The endowments of U.S. universities continue to slide, even as colleges and universities nationwide struggle with dwindling government and donor support, The Financial Times reported Nov. 17. Some of the hardest hit include the University of Virginia, whose endowment dropped 20 percent to $4.2 billion on Oct. 31 from $5.1 billion on June 30, and Amherst College, whose endowment lost 25 percent of its $1.6 billion value over the same time period.

U.S. government presents arts awards

The Presser Foundation of Haverford, Pa., and the John Templeton Foundation of West Conshohocken, Pa., were among the recipients of the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal which recognize outstanding contributions to the arts, The Washington Post reported Nov. 18 (see awards story). Other recipients included philanthropists Robert H. Smith, Thomas A. Saunders III and Jordan Horner Saunders. The awards, which were presented by President George W. Bush, are recognized as the highest bestowed by the U.S. government to artists and arts patrons.

Suffolk students up-in-arms over president’s pay

Suffolk University in Boston is under fire for paying its president, ¬≠¬≠David J. Sargent, $2.8 million last year, a compensation package that topped The Chronicle of Higher Education’s latest survey of wages and benefits for college presidents, The Boston Globe reported Nov. 18 (see pay story). Though the salary was a one-time boost to compensate for below-average pay in the past, school officials say, the news came as a shock to students, who faced a 7 percent tuition increase this year.

In Brief:

* The University of Washington’s treasury assets have taken a $400 million tumble since last year, dropping to $3 billion from $3.4 billion, says a preliminary report, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Nov. 17.

* Greater demand and reduced funds are a certainty for Michigan nonprofits next year, experts say, Crain’s Detroit Business reported Nov 16.

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