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Nonprofit news roundup for Jan. 8, 2009

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Boston nonprofits take brunt of Madoff hit

Boston nonprofits may be the hardest hit by Bernard Madoff’s alleged $50 billion investing scheme, says Mark T. Williams, professor at Boston University, Bloomberg reported Jan. 8 (see fraud story). The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation, which provided substantial funding for Brandeis University and Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, lost $145 million to Madoff. Other Boston-area nonprofits that invested with Madoff’s firm include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University.

Citgo resumes charitable oil donations

After Venezuelan-owned Citgo Petroleum Corp. announced plans to cut off charitable donations of oil to needy U.S. households, the company decided to resume its donations following direct intervention by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, The Washington Post reported Jan. 7. Though plunging fuel prices and the global economic crisis prompted Citgo to suspend its donations, the company has found a way to continue shipments, says chief executive Alejandro Granado. Chavez traditionally has tried to promote his vision of a united Latin America independent of the U.S. through international-aid projects funded by oil income, the article says.

Florida hospitals brace for budget cuts

Florida lawmakers are considering slashing hospital budgets to remedy the state’s $2.3 billion deficit, The Miami Herald reported Jan. 8. The cuts, which many critics argue could spur a state-wide healthcare crisis, could amount to $137 million. Florida, which leads the nation in job losses, has seen its number of Medicaid patients soar to 2.3 million.

Numbers not adding up for Connecticut food banks

While demand at food banks across Connecticut has increased by at least 20 percent in the last year, the supply of food has not kept up, says Gloria McAdam, president and CEO of Bloomfield, Conn.-based Foodshare, The Hartford Advocate reported Jan. 6. Even before the surge in demand, Foodshare was meeting only about one-third to one-half of community needs, she says.

In Brief:

* The puritanical attitude that prohibits charities from turning a profit also hurts their chances of achieving their missions, says a review of “Uncharitable,” a book by fundraising expert Dan Pallotta, in The Boston Globe Jan. 8.

* PBS is enlisting the help of President-elect Barack Obama and online donors in its battle with flagging funds, says network president Paula Kerger, The New York Daily News reported Jan. 8.

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