Nonprofit news roundup for Dec. 17, 2008

Madoff scam takes toll on Jewish charities

Jewish charities were hit especially hard by recent charges that Bernard Madoff, head of a New York investment firm, cheated his clients out of as much as $50 billion, the Associated Press reported Dec. 16. Among the organizations allegedly affected by the scam are those of movie director Steven Spielberg, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and Mortimer Zuckerman, owner of The New York Daily News. The loss to Jewish philanthropy as a whole is estimated between $600 million and $1 billion.

Yale trims budget after 25 percent loss

Yale University has seen its endowment tumble 25 percent, to $17 billion from $22.9 billion since June 30, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 17 (see endowment story). The Ivy-League school is slowing campus expansions and salary growth in an effort to trim its budget, 44 percent of which is supported by the endowment.

Minnesota nonprofits juggle more needs, less funding

One in four Minnesota nonprofits has cut staff this year, and nearly half have slashed their budgets in the wake of the economic mayhem, a survey says, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Dec. 16 (see budget story). More than four in 10 have seen a jump in requests for help, and nearly five in 10 reported drops in individual donations.

Fundraisers pocket bulk of donations, report says

Companies and individuals hired by charities to raise funds are pocketing much of the profit, says a report from the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Associated Press reported Dec. 16. For every dollar a professional fundraiser raised last year, 65 cents went to the fundraiser and 35 cents went to charity.

Sweet deal for Flint charities

Several charities in Flint, Mich., all stockholders in U.S. Sugar, stand to gain more than $300 million when the company sells 300 square miles in the Florida Everglades, The Flint Journal reported Dec. 16. The news could not come at a better time for the charities, some of which have seen endowment losses since the market meltdown.

In Brief:

* Churches are taking advantage of corporate advertising techniques and rampant economic worries to draw in prospective members, The New York Times reported Dec. 16.

* Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has created the Kentucky Commission on Philanthropy to help the state meet growing needs after the credit crisis, The Kentucky Post reported Dec. 16.

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