Nonprofit news roundup April 21, 2009

New York City mayor aims to boost volunteerism

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced a plan to encourage volunteerism among city residents, including a requirement that every city school build service and volunteerism into its curriculum this fall, The New York Times reported April 21 (see New York City volunteer story).  Bloomberg announced his plan just as President Barack Obama is set to sign the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which over five years will more than triple the size of AmeriCorps, the nation’s civilian service force, and will marshal volunteers to take on critical social problems.

Cash squeeze hits U.S. colleges

Top U.S. colleges like Yale, Stanford and Harvard face unprecedented declines in the value of their endowments, resulting in a cash squeeze, just as they are receiving
record numbers of applicants and growing demand for financial aid, the Financial Times reported April 20 (see college endowment story). Colleges also face higher payouts of financial aid to students, in part because many schools expanded those programs in 2007, a boom endowment year.

Prep schools see endowments tumble

While the endowments of elite preparatory schools in Massachusetts have tumbled 20 percent to 30 percent over the last six months, and fundraising has dropped, enrollment has remained steady so far, The Boston Business Journal reported April 17 (see schools endowment story).

King family criticized for charging for use of image, words

The family of Martin Luther King Jr. is being criticized for charging $800,000 for the use of King’s words and image in the planned monument to the civil-rights leader to be built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., The New York Times reported April 17 (see King monument story). One scholar says King would be “absolutely scandalized” that his children are seeking to profit from the project, which is being paid for almost completely by private funds raised by the Martin Luther King National Memorial Foundation.

Home Depot founder gives $20 million to Atlanta hospital

Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot, has pledged $20 million to Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital to expand the institution’s trauma center and to create a 20-bed intensive-care facility for victims of stroke and brain injury, The Associated Press reported April 17 (see Home Depot story).

Recession threatens Irish philanthropy

The global recession is choking the nascent “culture of philanthropy” in Ireland as wealthy Irish lose their fortunes to tanking markets and over-borrowing, GlobalPost reported April 20 (see Ireland charity story). Prior to the economic decline, about 500 million Euro, the equivalent of about $646.5 million, was donated to charity annually.

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