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Nonprofit news roundup for March 31, 2009

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Foundations lost $150 billion in 2008

U.S. foundations lost nearly $150 billion in 2008, almost as much as they gave away over the last four years, but their giving last fell only 1 percent to $45.6 million, adjusted for inflation, a new study by the Foundation Center says, The New York Times reported March 31 (see foundation giving story). Excluding $2.8 billion given by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, foundation giving overall fell three percent. And because the plunge in asset value occurred late in 2008, the study says, giving this year likely will fall much more.

More arts funding sought in Congress

Americans for the Arts will ask Congress today to boost the annual appropriation for the National Endowment for the Arts to $200 million from the $155 million provided for the agency in the recent omnibus bill, The New York Times reported March 30 (see arts funding story).

Indianapolis plans $3 million push to expand MLK park

Scheduled to coincide with the 41st anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., leaders in Indianapolis plan to launch a $3 million fundraising campaign to expand the King memorial in the city, The Associated Press reported March 30. Upgrades to Martin Luther King Jr. Park include an interactive exhibit featuring speeches by King and Robert Kennedy, who was at the park location when he delivered news of King’s death.

Bay area sees surge in volunteers

Some nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay area are struggling to manage too much of a good thing as a deluge of volunteers wish to donate their time, The Contra Costa Times reported March 30 (see volunteer story). President Obama’s call to service, a California unemployment rate of 10.5 percent and a desire to help those suffering from the recession have led more people to look for ways to donate their time.

Proposed tax change underscores motivation for giving

Nonprofits should speak out against President Obama’s proposal to reduce the tax deduction for charitable giving by the wealthiest Americans, Portland lawyer Bill Dolan said in a guest opinion column March 30 in OregonLive (see charitable tax deduction story). But while it would hurt charities to receive less from donors who might limit donations if the deduction is limited, he said, “it’s worse for charities to lend support to the idea that their donors are motivated primarily by the charitable deduction.”

Initiative launched to boost crop science in poor nations

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Science each will give $24 million over five years to fund research to boost small farmers in the developing world, The Seattle Times reported March 30 (see Gates gift story).

Princeton falling short of annual fundraising goal

The annual-giving fundraising campaign at Princeton University raised $20.5 million as of March 27 and may not reach its goal of $56 million by June 30, the Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J. reported March 31 (see college fundraising story).

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