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Nonprofit news roundup for March 6, 2009

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University foundation plans to boost hedge-fund holdings

Despite heavy losses suffered by hedge-fund investors last year, the University of Colorado Foundation plans to increase its hedge-fund holdings in 2009, Bloomberg reported March 6 (see investment story). Christopher Bittman, head of the Denver-based foundation, aims to raise hedge-fund holdings to about 20 percent of assets by investing an additional $30 million in the funds this year. Bittman expects hedge funds to be one of the better performers in the global bear market, he says.

Minneapolis art museum cuts staff, budget

Bowing to economic pressures, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is taking steps to slash programs by as much as 20 percent and cut staff and budgets by 6 percent, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported March 5 (see arts story). Other nonprofit arts organizations in the Twin Cities are expected to follow in the museum’s footsteps. Despite its sagging revenue, the museum will continue to admit visitors at no charge, says museum director Kaywin Feldman.

University of Chicago trims budget to fight endowment loss

The University of Chicago is cutting its budget after the value of its endowment tumbled 30 percent, Crain’s Chicago Business reported March 5 (see budget story). The university plans to shelve construction projects in an effort to trim $200 million, or 7 percent, from its budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

In Brief:

* In its recent report, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has put serving marginalized communities above all other concerns, says Paul Brest, president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, in an opinion column in The Huffington Post March 5.

* Even if President Barack Obama’s plan to lower charitable deductions for upper-income Americans has little impact on donations, experts worry that it sends the wrong message to floundering nonprofits, the Associated Press reported March 5.

* Nonprofit arts groups in Providence, R.I., are in hot water as donations and attendance drop, says a report by Creative Providence, The Providence Journal reported March 5.

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