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Nonprofit news roundup for Feb. 20, 2009

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Wave of charities file for bankruptcy protection

As the recession drones on, more charities are filing for bankruptcy protection as they seek an orderly liquidation or work to reorganize their operations, The New York Times reported Feb. 19 (see bankruptcy story). Several arts organizations have filed for bankruptcy, as have a rape-crisis organization in Maine, a low-income housing group in Massachusetts and a retirement community in Pennsylvania.

Food banks see increased demand from working families

Food banks across the U.S. are seeing demand swell from a new clientele that includes nurse’s aids, real estate agents and child-care workers, The New York Times reported Feb. 19 (see food bank story). Demand at food banks across the nation is up almost a third over last year, forcing pantries to extend their hours to accommodate working families who are resorting to food assistance for the first time.

Wal-Mart teams with nonprofits for free tax prep

The Wal-Mart Foundation, in partnership with United Way and One Economy Corp., will provide free tax-preparation services for low-income Americans across the country, the San Diego Nonprofit Business Examiner reported Feb. 19. A $3.6 million grant from the foundation will fund a mobile tax-filing tour that includes five Mobile Tax Center vans equipped tax professionals and One Economy’s online tax-filing technology.

Nonprofit job applications spike as economy falters

Applications for jobs at nonprofits in the U.S. are skyrocketing as the economy batters the for-profit marketplace, the Associated Press reported Feb. 18. Corporate job losses, coupled with President Obama’s call to community service and a desire to serve those in need, have led to a 50 percent jump in applications to nonprofit Teach for America, and a 16 percent increase at Peace Corps.

Advocates question animal-protection group’s salaries

After losing a quarter of its endowment, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is planning to close three shelters, a move some animal advocates are questioning given the society’s executive compensation packages, The Boston Globe reported Feb. 20 (see salary story). Four of the society’s five top executives make more than $200,000 a year, money some say would be better spent on direct care for animals.

Faith-based charities hurt by government cutbacks

As local and state governments across the U.S. face dire budget shortfalls, faith-based charities that rely on public support are falling victim to budget cuts, The Washington Post reported Feb. 20 (see faith-based story). Governments are scaling back their contracts with nonprofits, which in turn are eliminating programs, laying off staff and trying to borrow money.

Theater companies slash budgets, cut ticket prices

As the economic malaise continues, nonprofit theaters in the U.S. are bracing for lower ticket sales and anemic fundraising by slashing expenses and lowering ticket prices, says a new study, Bloomberg reported Feb. 20 (see theaters story). More than three in four theaters with budgets of $10 million or more are cutting spending by an average of $750,000, says the study by the Theatre Communications Group. About 10 theater groups already have shut down, or are on the verge of closing their doors.

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