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Nonprofit news roundup for March 27, 2009

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Community-service expansion gets Senate OK

The U.S. Senate gave overwhelming approval to a bill to greatly expand national community-service programs, increasing the number of spots to 250,000 from 75,000 and creating new troops of volunteers working in the areas of education, clean energy, health care and veterans issues, The New York Times reported March 27 (see community-service story).

Pay at nonprofits under scrutiny

In the face of anger over big Wall Street bonuses, nonprofits are gearing for a tougher look of their executive pay practices, The Wall Street Journal reported March 27 (see nonprofit pay story). Billions of dollars in subsidies benefiting nonprofits through their tax-exempt status could expose nonprofit leaders to the type of scrutiny financial-firm executives are getting, the Journal said. David Schmidly, president of the University of New Mexico, took home $587,000 in total compensation in fiscal 2008 and got a no-confidence vote last month from the university’s faculty, while Gloria Pace King was ousted last year as CEO of United Way of Central Carolinas after disclosure of her $1.2 million pay package.

Obama’s tax plan worries charities

Even as President Obama seeks to convince charities that his proposal to cap the charitable-deduction rate will not harm donations, nonprofits continue to worry that the move will cause wealthy donors to hold back at a time when the charitable sector is in dire need of funding, Fox News reported March 26.

Prospects gloomy for arts groups

Americans for the Arts, an advocacy group, says over 10 percent of nonprofit arts organizations could close this year as the plunging stock market erodes corporate, foundation and individual charitable giving, McClatchy Newspapers reported March 26.

Lawmaker warns Obama plan could cost charities

President Obama’s proposal to limit the charitable deduction of taxpayers making more than $250,000 a year could mean billions less in donations to charity, says House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, a Republican from Virginia, Cybercast News Service reported March 26. The plan creates a disincentive to giving, says Cantor, a move that “defies logic” during a time when charities are struggling.

Idaho teacher sells ad space on homework sheets

In an effort to offset an estimated $10 million shortfall next year, a public-school teacher in Idaho has traded advertising space on his class handouts for a donation of paper from a local pizza joint, The Associated Press reported March 26. In exchange for 10,000 sheets of paper, worth about $315, history teacher Jeb Harrison, will include an ad for Molto’s Pizza on the bottom of every class handout, including quizzes and tests.

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