Nonprofit news roundup for Jan. 22, 2009

Charity fires wife of impeached Illinois governor

Patti Blagojevich, the wife of embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, was dismissed from her job as development director of the Chicago Christian Industrial League, The Chicago Sun-Times reported Jan. 21 (see job story). The scandal surrounding Gov. Blagojevich made it difficult for his wife to raise funds the charity needed to repay a loan for a new $25 million homeless shelter, says a source on the charity’s board. Gov. Blagojevich faces an impeachment trial in the state Senate next week for allegedly trading political favors for campaign contributions and attempting to sell President Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat.

Polio-eradication effort gets $635 million

The global fight to eradicate polio got a $635 million boost from Rotary International, the governments of Germany and Britain and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Washington Post reported Jan. 22 (see polio story). The Gates Foundation alone contributed $255 million, adding to the $100 million it donated in 2007 to fight a polio outbreak in India. Eradication efforts have slashed the number of polio cases by 99 percent in the last 20 years, relegating the disease to Nigeria, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan.

Florida Catholic schools fall victim to economy

Catholic schools throughout South Florida are going under as plunging endowments, declining donations and settlements of priest sexual-abuse cases bleed the church of funds, The Miami Herald reported Jan. 22. Two schools already are preparing to shut down, and the Archdiocese of Miami is expected to announce the closure of three additional schools Thursday. The crisis in Florida mirrors a national trend that has shuttered about 1,000 U.S. Catholic schools in the last 10 years.

In Brief:

* Even during economic slumps, self-professed conservatives outperform liberals in charitable giving, says Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, in an opinion column in The Wall Street Journal Jan. 22.

* Gilbert Chagoury, who donated between $1 million and $5 million to former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation, had a questionable friendship with Nigerian military leader Sani Abacha, says an editorial in Harper’s Magazine Jan. 21.

* The United Way of Central Maryland has raised $200,000 toward the $1 million emergency fund it launched to help needy people survive the cold winter months, The Baltimore Sun reported Jan. 22.

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