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Nonprofit news roundup for March 11, 2009

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Silicon Valley nonprofits slash staff, services

More than half of Silicon Valley nonprofits plan to cut staff and services following a drop in major gifts, says a report by the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits, The San Jose Mercury News reported March 10 (see gifts story). Fewer than one in 10 nonprofits reported they are financially secure and feeling no impact from the recession, the report says. The flagging funding coincides with a surge in demand for services, with nonprofits in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties reporting a 20 percent increase in clients since last year.

Direct payments to British charities tumble

Donors in the United Kingdom are canceling their direct debit payments to charities at a higher rate than last year as a result of the grim global economy, the BBC reported March 11 (see payment story). Average monthly cancellations rose to 4.64 percent in 2008-09 from 3.32 percent in 2007-08 to, says Rapidata Services. The British government plans to invest 40 million British pounds, or $55.2 million, in nonprofits that are helping families weather the recession.

Cobb County nonprofits juggle low funding, high need

Already reeling from reduced funding, nonprofits serving needy families in Cobb County, Ga., are seeing a jump in demand for services, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported March 10. The Center for Family Resources in Marietta has had to address the needs of 30 percent more clients on a budget that has fallen $400,000 since last year. And Sweetwater Valley Community Action Mission Program in Austell, a coalition of local churches that provides food and financial assistance, gave out twice the number of food boxes in January than it did a year earlier.

Orange County charities squeezed by economic crisis

Nearly six in 10 nonprofits in Orange County, Calif., are grappling with reduced revenue, while nearly seven in 10 have seen community needs skyrocket, says a study by the Orange County Funders Roundtable, MSNBC reported March 10. Almost half of local nonprofits have lost funds they expected, more than three in 10 have dipped into reserves, and more than one in 10 are staying afloat by using lines of credit.

In Brief:

* Three charitable foundations are giving a total of $9 million to Seattle Public Schools to improve teacher training and student achievement, The Seattle Times reported March 10. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed more than $7 million, the Eli & Edythe Broad Foundation pledged more than $1 million and the Stuart Foundation will provide more than $250,000.

* “The Apprentice,” an NBC reality TV show hosted by Donald Trump, is having its celebrity contestants compete for charity in an attempt to buck its “greed is good” motto in the crumbling economy, The New York Times reported March 10.

* The average net worth of the world’s youngest billionaires, including Prince Albert von Thurn und Taxis of Germany and Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, dropped by nearly a third as the market plummeted, the BBC reported March 11.

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