Nonprofit news roundup for March 24, 2009

Report on foundations spurs controversy

A report by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy suggesting foundations should direct half their grants to minorities, the poor and other disadvantaged groups has fueled growing criticism from foundations arguing it is too prescriptive and overlooks the need to fund other causes like the arts, medical research and education, The Wall Street Journal reported March 24 (see foundation story). A big foundation cancelled its membership with the watchdog group, which has issued a defense of its report.

San Francisco Chronicle could go nonprofit

California business leaders are discussing a plan that would create a nonprofit organization to take over the ailing San Francisco Chronicle and receive some continuing support from the Hearst Corp., The San Francisco Business Journal reported March 23.

Los Angeles independent schools get creative

Independent schools in Los Angeles are looking for new and creative ways to encourage parents to keep their children at the expensive institutions and to continue giving so lower-income children can attend, The Los Angeles Times reported March 23 (see schools story). Many of the fundraising pitches seek money for financial aid to help families in need or to fund scholarships.

Bad economy fuels volunteerism

Laid-off workers are feeding a new pool of well-educated, highly skilled volunteers, with the Taproot Foundation in San Francisco, for example, seeing a 171 percent increase in volunteer interest in January over the previous year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported March 23 (see volunteer story).

Endowments keep falling at Maine schools

The value of endowments at colleges and universities in Maine has fallen nearly half-a-billion dollars, according to the Associated Press, MaineBiz reported March 23 (see college endowment story).

Drop in endowment revenue prompts more cuts at Newseum

The Newseum in Washington, D.C., made more staff cuts because of declining revenue from its main funder, the Freedom Forum endowment, The Washington Post reported March 23.

Bush Foundation invests in South Dakota nonprofits

A $2 million grant from the Bush Foundation will go toward strengthening the capacity of South Dakota’s nonprofits, The Argus Leader reported March 24. The funds will be used to help the state’s nonprofits improve their fundraising, boost their grantwriting and strengthen their boards.

Library association’s endowment tumbles The endowment of the American Library Association is continuing its slide, falling to $21.3 million as of the end of February from a high of $31.2 million at the end of 2007, The Library Journal reported March 23.

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