Nonprofit news roundup for Jan. 23, 2009

Biotech firms turn to nonprofits for funds

Struggling biotechnology companies are relying more on nonprofits for research funding as other sources dry up, Dow Jones reported Jan. 22. Though patient-advocacy groups like the Muscular Dystrophy Association and National Multiple Sclerosis Society traditionally have funded research in its earlier stages, they have expanded their assistance to later-stage developments. Only one in 10 biotechnology companies are turning a profit, says the Biotechnology Industry Association.

Stanford business school slashes staff

Anticipating endowment and enrollment declines, the business school at Stanford University has fired 49 staff members, or about 12 percent of its non-faculty workforce, Bloomberg reported Jan. 22. The university’s endowment, which was valued at $17.2 billion as of June 30, 2008, may fall by up to 30 percent in the current fiscal year, school officials say. Stanford is bracing for the fallout by delaying new construction and cutting its budget 15 percent in the next two years, says Provost John Etchemendy.

Dartmouth cuts spending after endowment loss

Dartmouth College is cutting spending by 8.6 percent after its endowment lost $700 million, or 18 percent, during the last half of 2008, Bloomberg reported Jan. 22 (see spending story). The Hanover, N.H.-based Ivy-League school plans to eliminate jobs, freeze hiring, postpone construction projects and consider cutting or merging departments.

In Brief:

* For-profit newspapers and nonprofit foundations are not opposed to joining forces to promote innovative reporting, says David Westphal, professor of journalism at the University of Southern California, in a column in the Online Journalism Review Jan. 22.

* The economic crisis has dealt a staggering blow to Massachusetts nonprofits, which employ nearly 14 percent of the state’s workforce and generate more than $86 billion in revenue, The Boston Business Journal reported Jan. 23.

* Charitable grants in the Pacific Northwest are dwindling as large foundations scale back, The Seattle Times reported Jan. 22.

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