Nonprofit news roundup for Dec. 4, 2008

Gates pushes support for foreign aid, education

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, urged lawmakers and President-elect Barack Obama’s future administration to continue support of foreign aid and education despite the financial meltdown, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 4 (see foreign story). He also pushed the government to become a more active proponent of school reform, saying that economic downturns often spur the greatest times of innovation and social change. Gates also lauded Obama’s pledge to double U.S. foreign aid to $50 billion by 2012.

Philadelphia scholarships cut amid financial turmoil

Bowing to the economic crisis, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania is slashing a scholarship that has provided $24 million in college funding for Philadelphia high-school students since 2003, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Dec. 4. The Philadelphia College Opportunity Resources for Education program, known as CORE Philly, was cut following Mayor Michael Nutter’s announcement that the city is cutting back its yearly contribution to the fund by $1 million. Nutter’s spokesman says the city has fulfilled its four-year commitment, and accuses Fattah of not setting aside adequate funds for an endowment.

Pittsburgh scholarship program gets $5 million

The Grable Foundation is giving $5 million over five years, the largest grant in its history, to The Pittsburgh Promise, a $250 million scholarship program for graduates of the Pittsburgh public-school system, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Dec. 4. The Pittsburgh Foundation launched the program last year with a 10-year, $100 million commitment from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

In Brief:

* As the economic crisis puts increasing pressure on nonprofits, the wealthy must see charitable giving as their part of a social contract, says Matthew Bishop in a blog in The Guardian Dec. 4.

* Global Washington, a Seattle-based organization founded by philanthropist Bill Clapp, aims to facilitate collaboration between Washington nonprofits that focus on global development, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Dec. 3.

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