Nonprofit news roundup for Dec. 1, 2008

Bill Clinton to reveal donor names

Former President Bill Clinton agreed to disclose the names of more than 200,000 donors to his charitable foundation to pave the way for his wife, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, to become secretary of state, The Washington Post reported Nov. 30 (see donor story). As part of a deal with President-elect Barack Obama to prevent conflicts of interest, Bill Clinton also agreed to allow the State Department to vet his business dealings and speeches.

‘Green investing’ takes root

Green investing, the process of putting money into corporations that adopt environmentally-friendly practices, is gaining popularity in the U.S. and Europe, The New York Times reported Nov. 27 (see green story). The California State Teachers’ Retirement Fund, one of the largest pension funds in the U.S., used its investments as leverage to push Exxon Mobil to disclose its climate-changing emissions. However, many institutions that support environmental causes, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Harvard University, have held back for fear of lower returns.

University of Michigan optimistic despite losses

Though the University of Michigan has seen some of its investments drop by $520 million in the last few months, its officials remain hopeful that its large endowment and diverse investments will help it weather the economic crisis, The Ann Arbor News reported Dec. 1. Despite the blow to its endowment, which was valued at $7.6 billion as of June 30, the university has no plans to institute hiring freezes or halt construction projects.

Former donors return to charities for help

In a dismal twist to the economic meltdown, once-reliable donors are starting to turn to charitable organizations for help during the holiday season, The Los Angeles Times reported Nov. 27 (see poverty story). More than half of U.S. charities that provide food and shelter have seen an increase in middle-class clients, up from just over four in 10 in June.

Private schools thrive during economic slump

New York City private schools are bucking the economic trend with record numbers of applicants and solid donations, The New York Times reported Nov. 28 (see school story). However, some school officials, worried about shrinking endowments, are drafting conservative budgets for the coming year.

In Brief:

* It’s time for America’s needy to get their bailout, says Teresa DeCrescenzo in an opinion column in The Los Angeles Times Dec. 1.

* Massachusetts colleges are cutting back jobs and services as state budget reductions take a bite out of their funding, The Boston Globe reported Nov. 27.

* Top philanthropists throughout the U.S. are making sure their children, sometimes younger than 10, are getting involved in giving, says a study by Bank of America and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Nov. 29.

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