Nonprofit news roundup for Nov. 20, 2008

Clinton agrees to disclose donors

To smooth his wife’s path to become secretary of state, former President Bill Clinton has agreed to identify major donors to his charitable foundation and limit his future philanthropic activities, The New York Times reported Nov. 19 (see vetting story). Clinton also agreed to inform the State Department of any new donors, paid speeches or other sources of income if President-elect Barack Obama appoints his wife, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, secretary of state. Obama’s administration should find a way to avoid conflicts of interest while allowing Bill Clinton to carry on his philanthropic work through his foundation, says Matthew Bishop in an opinion column in The San Francisco Chronicle Nov. 20.

Music patron found guilty of fraud

A federal jury convicted Alberto W. Vilar, an investor who has given as much as $100 million to arts programs, on 12 counts of fraud, the more serious of which carry up to 20 years in prison, The New York Times reported Nov. 19 (see conviction story). Prosecutors accused Vilar of using millions of dollars in clients’ money to invest in risky prospects and pay his expenses when the market tanked in 2000. His colleague at Amerindo Investment Advisors, Gary A. Tanaka, was found guilty on three counts of fraud.

Massachusetts gives $12.4 million to quash violent crime

Even after cutting the Massachusetts state budget by over $1 billion, Gov. Deval Patrick made good on his promise to give $12.4 million in grants for a program aimed at preventing youth and gang violence, The Boston Globe reported Nov. 20 (see gang story) [subscription only]. The Senator Charles E. Shannon Community Safety Initiative, which funds nonprofits in 39 communities throughout the state, will receive $2 million more in state grants than it did last year, says Terrel Harris, spokesman for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

Clinton to help raise funds for MLK memorial

Former President Bill Clinton will speak at a dinner held in Miami Jan. 8 to help raise funds for a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, D.C., the Associated Press reported Nov. 19. The memorial foundation has raised $100 million of the $120 million needed to complete the project. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which is sponsoring the dinner, plans to make a major donation to help build the memorial, United Press International reported Nov. 19.

In Brief:

* Despite parental concerns about the hours their children spend on Facebook and MySpace, social networking teaches children crucial technological and social skills, says a study by the MacArthur Foundation, The New York Times reported Nov. 19.

* In an effort to shift the fundraising focus back to education during the economic downturn, colleges and universities are asking donors to contribute directly to scholarships and financial aid, The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 19.

* The Massachusetts Institute of Technology plans to slash spending by as much as 15 percent over the next three years as it grapples with the financial crisis, The Boston Herald reported Nov. 20.

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