Nonprofit news roundup for Jan. 21, 2009

Law schools rein in spending

U.S. law schools are whittling down available courses and faculty positions after drastic drops in endowments and state budgets, The National Law Journal reported Jan. 19 (see law story). If the economy does not make a quick recovery, budget cuts could reach about 17 percent for schools that rely heavily on their endowments, says Saul Levmore, dean of the law school at the University of Chicago. Many endowments at private schools, some of which provide up to half the schools’ operating budgets, have lost 20 percent to 40 percent of their value, he says.

University of Virginia scholarships slashed

The Jefferson Scholars Foundation, which provides scholarships to outstanding incoming students at the University of Virginia, plans to cut an unspecified number of scholarships for the next academic year, The Hook reported Jan. 20 (see scholarship story). The foundation, which gave free rides to 33 undergraduate and eight graduate students during the 2008-09 academic year, saw its endowment tumble $50 million, or 25 percent, in the market crisis, says foundation president Jimmy Wright. The foundation will maintain its commitment to current scholarship recipients, Wright says.

Senator delays Clinton confirmation over foundation donors

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, citing concerns about donors to former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation, delayed the confirmation of Sen. Hillary Clinton for secretary of state, The New York Times reported Jan. 20 (see confirmation story). The Republican lawmaker said he feared a conflict of interest would arise if better measures were not put in place to monitor contributions from foreign donors. Cornyn’s objection was not expected to pose an obstacle to Hillary Clinton’s confirmation Wednesday.

Volunteers step up in Minnesota

As the tanking economy puts more pressure on Minnesota nonprofits, area residents are rolling up their sleeves instead of breaking out their wallets, the Associated Press reported Jan. 20. While nearly half of Minnesota nonprofits reported sagging donations, fewer than one in 10 said volunteers had cut back on their hours, says a survey by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. Minnesota ranks third in the U.S. in volunteerism, with about two of every five people contributing their time.

In Brief:

* The Louvre is taking bids for money managers as it readies to launch its first U.S.-style endowment next month, Bloomberg reported Jan. 20. The Paris-based art museum plans to start the endowment with the 175 million euros, or nearly $230 million, it received to set up a branch in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

* The Bush administration has asked a federal judge to suspend a lawsuit filed by the now-defunct Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, which claims to have been the victim of illegal government wiretapping, the Associated Press reported Jan. 20.

* The Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston, Texas, faced with a $3 billion endowment loss, is halting reconstruction work to repair damage from Hurricane Ike, the Associated Press reported Jan. 20.

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