Nonprofit news roundup April 15, 2009

More nonprofits merging to survive recession

Experts say recession-driven cuts in donations and funding are fueling an acceleration of nonprofit mergers, the Boston Globe reported April 15 (see nonprofit
mergers story
). The Boston Foundation has been encouraging nonprofits to look at partnering as a strategy for surviving the recession, and some officials say too many nonprofits operate in Massachusetts to survive.

Skoll creates foundation to address urgent threats

Jeff Skoll, the first president of eBay, have given $100 million to start a new foundation to address urgent threats like water shortages, pandemics and the Middle East
conflict, The New York Times reported April 14 (see urgent-threat foundation story). Heading the new Skoll Urgent Threats Fund will be Larry Brilliant, who until February headed Google’s philanthropy,

Greenpeace names grassroots organizer its new executive director

Greenpeace USA named Phil Radford, its top organizer, as its new executive director, The New York Times reported April 14 (see Greenpeace story). Radford spearheaded the “Frontline” initiative that nearly doubled the environmental group’s annual budget to $30 million, and was key in mobilizing Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter users.

Donors advised not to tap foundations for personal use

While donors who have lost net worth might be tempted to use funds from their family foundations for personal use, professional advisers say donors should avoid that temptation, Dow Jones Newswires reported April 14. The IRS is giving greater scrutiny to self-dealing involving directors and employees of tax-exempt organizations.

Illinois court looking at hospital’s tax-exempt status

An appeal before the Illinois Supreme Court involving a nonprofit hospital that lost its tax-exempt status because it was not providing enough charity care for needy patients is looking at how much charity care a hospital must provide to receive tax subsidies, the Chicago Tribune reported April 10.

Tax benefits incentive to donate art in face of down market

With the art market plummeting, collectors thinking about divesting should look at the benefits of leaving artwork, antiques and collectibles to family members or donating them to charity, Dow Jones Newswires reported April 14 (see donated art story). Tax law now lets a married couple to give away up to $2 million during their lifetimes free of federal gift tax.

Gates Foundation to help libraries raise awareness, money

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will give $5 million to help libraries serve more people during the recession, starting in Iowa and Georgia, by helping libraries increase awareness about their financial needs and help them raise money, the Associated Press reported April 14.

Actor seeks Twitter fans’ advice on donating $100,000

Australian actor Hugh Jackman asked fans on microblogging site Twitter to help him pick a charity to which he will give $100,000, the Telegraph reported April 15 (see Twitter gift story). Charity groups praised Jackman’s pledge but said $100,000 represented a big gift to be made based on advice of just 140 words per fan.

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