Nonprofit news roundup for Jan. 29, 2009

Obama to tap minister for faith-based efforts, sources say

President Obama will tap Pentecostal minister and political strategist Joshua DuBois to head the office of faith-based initiatives, say anonymous religious leaders, The New York Times reported Jan. 28 (see faith-based story). The 26-year-old DuBois, who headed up religious outreach for the Obama campaign, would lead a revamped office, now called the Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership, that would award grants to religious and community groups and involve them in solving social problems. The White House declined to comment on the speculation.

Ousted Charlotte United Way chief battled breast cancer

Gloria Pace King, the ousted CEO of Charlotte, N.C.-based United Way of Central Carolinas, was diagnosed with breast cancer about the same time she was forced out of her position, she said in a lengthy interview published in The Charlotte Post Jan. 28 (see United Way story). King was fired Oct. 1 after a controversy erupted over her compensation package and received cancer treatment during the last quarter of 2008.

Foundations hit by falling assets, rising demand

Just as demand for nonprofit services is skyrocketing, the assets of the foundations that fund them are tanking, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Jan. 29 (see foundations story). Although the mammoth Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation lost 20 percent of its assets in 2008, it has pledged to hold its grantmaking steady this year. The Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, however, saw its endowment drop by a third and has eliminated some grants, changed from multi-year to one-year funding and is deferring payments to some grantees.

National Heritage Foundation files for bankruptcy

As the winners of a $6 million judgment against the National Heritage Foundation seek to get their money, the “controversial” charity has declared bankruptcy, Forbes reported Jan. 28 (see bankruptcy story). The bankruptcy filing says 18 of the 20 largest unsecured creditors are holders of the foundation’s charitable gift annuities.

Brandeis may not sell off modern-art collection

While Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz still plans to convert the school’s Rose Art Museum into a study and research center, he is backing off his plans to sell its $350 million art collection, The Boston Globe reported Jan. 29 (see Brandeis story). Should the economy improve, the school may not need to sell off the modern-art collection that includes works by the likes of Warhol and Magritte.

In Brief:

* One in eight New Hampshire workers is employed by one of the state’s more than 7,800 nonprofits, which together contribute 14.5 percent of New Hampshire’s gross domestic product, says a new report from the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits, WCAX News reported Jan. 29.

* A quarter of the nonprofits in central Iowa saw a drop in revenue last year and more than half expect their funding to decline in the next six to 12 months, says a new report from the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation, The Des Moines Register reported Jan. 29.

* The University of West Virginia’s endowment tumbled 22.5 percent to $330 million between July 1 and Nov. 30, West Virginia Public Broadcasting reported Jan. 28.

* Newspapers should transition to a nonprofit business model before becoming the latest casualty of the economic crisis, say David Swensen, chief investment officer at Yale University, and financial analyst Michael Schmidt, in an opinion column in The New York Times Jan. 27.

* If the many talented professionals who lost their jobs in the economic turmoil would consider volunteering, they could prop up the flagging nonprofit sector while making valuable connections, The New York Times reported Jan. 24.

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