Nonprofit news roundup for Nov. 25, 2008

Corporate donations to charity dwindle

As falling stock markets and a withering economy take their toll on American businesses, corporate donations to charity are beginning to dry up, The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 25 (see donations story). Large corporate players may have to cut back on giving because “you can’t give what you haven’t got,” says former AIG CEO Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, whose family foundation’s asset have fallen to $4 million as of October from almost $48 million in February.

Charity leaders convicted of financing terrorism

Five leaders of a U.S.-based Muslim charity were convicted in federal court of financing terrorists affiliated with Hamas, a Palestinian militant organization, The New York Times reported Nov. 24 (see terrorism story). Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, based in Richardson, Texas, was found guilty of 108 counts that include support of terrorism, money laundering and fraud; the charity says it was delivering legitimate humanitarian aid.

Gates Foundation to trim grantmaking by 10 percent

In response to the ailing economy, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says it will cut its grantmaking by 10 percent next year, The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 24 (see Gates story). The funder also is working to reduce its expenses.

Colleges lean on conservative investment strategies

As the capital markets continue to pummel the endowments of colleges and universities, most college investment officers are trying to stay calm and stick to conservative investment strategies, Minnesota Public Radio reported Nov. 24 (see colleges story). Having weathered the recession of 2001, many investment managers in recent years have rebalanced their portfolios to include less public stock, a move aimed at reducing overall risk.

New York City nonprofits gain heft as employers

As corporations in the New York City area shed jobs by the thousands, local nonprofit hospitals and universities are holding employment numbers steady, thereby increasing their importance as employers in the city, The New York Times reported Nov. 24 (see hospitals story). If the trend continues, city budget officials could be scrambling to make up for the lost tax revenue caused by fewer for-profit companies and larger nonprofits, which do not generate corporate or property taxes.

In Brief:

* Melvin Levine, pediatrician and founder of All Kinds of Minds, an institute based in Chapel Hill, N.C., that works with children with learning disabilities, has resigned in the wake of allegations he molested young boys during examinations, The New York Times reported Nov. 24. Levine, who is under investigation by the state medical board, has denied ever touching a patient inappropriately.

* Falling capital markets have dragged down the endowment of the University of Rochester in New York by 25 percent, or about $425 million, since June 30, the Democrat and Chronicle reported Nov. 24.

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