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Nonprofit news roundup for Jan. 14, 2009

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Matching gifts shrinking at some U.S. companies

Matching-gift programs at U.S. corporations may be the next casualty of the economic crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 14 (see match story). Companies such as General Motors, Procter & Gamble and Pfizer are scaling back on the decades-old practice of matching charitable contributions made by their employees. To cut costs in a down economy, many companies are reducing their matching ratios or excluding part-time employees from participating. Of the $8.6 billion donated to charity by U.S. corporations in 2007, about 10 percent came from matching-gift programs, says data from HEP Development Services.

Economic crisis rattles top philanthropists

The economic meltdown is threatening to derail the efforts of even the most ambitious philanthropists in the Seattle area, including Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen, The Seattle Times reported Jan. 14 (see cutback story). The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation plans to trim growth to 10 percent this year, compared with 30 percent last year. And the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, which cut total spending by 24 percent last year, is shifting its focus to short-term needs.

Alumni launch effort to revive Antioch College

An alumni group at Antioch College, a Yellow Springs, Ohio-based liberal-arts school that is temporarily closed due to financial hardship, has offered $6.5 million to establish a school independent of the college’s parent, Antioch University, the Associated Press reported Jan. 13. The group called for a 90-day period to raise funds and get government approval for the project. Antioch University, of which the college is a member, has other campuses in Seattle, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Calif., and Keene, N.H.

Cornell scales back after 27 percent endowment loss

Cornell University is planning budget cutbacks after its $5.39 billion endowment lost nearly 27 percent of its value in the last six months of 2008, Bloomberg reported Jan. 13 (see endowment story). The Ithaca, N.Y.-based Ivy-League school probably will raise tuition and cut spending by 5 percent next year, says David Skorton, president of the university.

Archdiocese gets hefty bill from San Francisco

San Francisco is attempting to collect up to $15 million in taxes from the Archdiocese of San Francisco, which has refused to pay taxes on properties it transferred from one Catholic nonprofit to another, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Jan. 14 (see tax story). The church has appealed the tax, arguing that it should not have to pay property-transfer taxes because both nonprofits fall under the umbrella of the archdiocese. The tax bill would be the second-largest of its kind in the city’s history.

Foreign governments gave Clinton Foundation up to $65M

Foreign governments contributed¬†between $20 million and $65 million to former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation since its inception in 1997, CNS News reported Jan. 13. Saudi Arabia, the largest foreign-government donor, gave between $10 million and $25 million. Other donors include Norway, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Brunei. U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana expressed concern that foreign governments could use Clinton’s foundation to curry favor with his wife, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, who has been nominated as secretary of state in President-elect Barack Obama’s administration, Reuters reported Jan. 13.

In Brief:

* The business community has a significant role to play in boosting national service, says Jonathan Greenblatt, former CEO of GOOD Worldwide, in an opinion column in The Huffington Post Jan. 14.

* The University of California, Davis, is getting a $2.5 million endowment from Chevron Corp. to fund a new chair for its energy-efficiency research center, the Associated Press reported Jan. 13.

* Commissioners in Durham County, N.C., voted to cut funding to nonprofit groups by 3 percent for the current fiscal year, The News & Observer in Raleigh reported Jan. 14.

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